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June 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 32, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Surely Not Another Scuba Kickstarter?

from the June, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

We've seen endless permutations of propulsion for divers, from full-blown DPVs like the Hollis Sea Jet and the less-expensive See Doo, to the back-mounted Pegasus Thruster, the leg-mounted Jet Boots and the forearm-mounted Jet Pack.

Now, an enterprising Germany-based inventor, Un-Yong Park, has come up with a wrist-mounted propulsion device. The Scubalec Jet Drive consists of a battery and two cylindrical thrusters, each of which uses an impeller to draw water through an opening and then expel it out of a nozzle -- similar to the way a squid propels itself through the water.

A thumb-operated throttle controls the thrust, and the user steers simply by pointing his arm in the direction he wants to go. It doesn't power you much faster than you can swim, but it saves you energy. Its removable lithium ion battery is only good for around ten minutes, so no good for cave penetrations! Park is attempting to raise capital for Scubalec via a Kickstarter campaign, and at the time of writing, he had almost reached his goal of 10,000 Euros. The planned retail price will be $427. www.kickstarter.com

It doesn't stop there. Raising funds by Indiegogo, Sublue, the designers of the Whiteshark MIX, say its hand-held device will have a top speed of nearly 4mph and go to 130 feet (40m) deep. They claim its battery will last up to one hour powering its four-leaf Kaplan bladed double-propellers. They hope to deliver by October and the price will be close to $500. https://goo.gl/dDvK7u.

We're not fans of gambling on kickstarter funding, but if you have money to throw away ...

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