Triton not. Dive, or dive not, there is no Triton.

The Triton oxygen mask, designed by Jeabyun Yeon. That or it's my old BMX handlebars
The Triton oxygen mask, designed by Jeabyun Yeon. That or it’s my old BMX handlebars

One of the deeplings shared this SCUBA diving concept called the Triton, a sort of artificial gill that would extract oxygen from the water for you in an on-demand fashion as you swim, obviating the need for bulky SCUBA gear.  It’s supposed to work on some sort of nanotube absorption, with a mini battery and compressor to pressurise the oxygen for you.  As soon as I saw it, I couldn’t help but think of this:

A Jedi FEELS the BS flowing through this concept…

OK, I hate gearing up for a dive as much as anyone, but unfortunately there’s a bit of physics and physiology that means the Triton concept just ain’t gonna happen.  On Earth at least.  Naboo, maybe… Let me break it down for you.

  • The average human breathes about 500mls of air per breath as their standard tidal volume
  • Of that 500 mls, 21% is oxygen going in, and 16% is oxygen coming out, meaning that we strip about 5% of the volume of every breath as pure oxygen, or about 25mls (0.025 liters)
  • Using Avagadro’s Law (1 mole of any gas occupies 22.4 liters) we see:
  • V1/n1 = V2/n2 –> 22.4L/1mol = 0.025L/Xmol –> X = 0.00111mol.  Each breath consumes 0.00111 moles of oxygen gas
  • From the molar weight of di-molecular oxygen gas (16g x 2 = 32g/mol), we can calculate that each breath is:
  • 32g * 0.00111mol = 0.03552g of oxygen, or 35.52 milligrams (mg)
  • Now, well-oxygenated surface ocean waters (on Earth of course, I have no idea about Naboo) contain about 6mg/L of oxygen.
  • So, to supply one breath’s worth of oxygen, the Triton would need to filter 35.52mg/6mgL = 5.92L of water.  Let’s call it 6L for convenience.  And it would need to do so with 100% extraction efficiency, which is not realistic under any diffusion or adsorption scenario, but let’s give Mr Yeon the benefit of the doubt.
  • The average person breathes around 15 times per minute at rest.  Lets assume we’re diving in a restful fashion, and not chasing Gungans into the underwaterways to escape Colo Clawfish
  • Therefore, to supply you with oxygen at normal resting breathing rates, the Triton would need to filter 15 x 6L = 90L per minute, or about 24 gallons.  For scale, 25 gallons a minute is about as much as a 1/4 horsepower sump pump pushes out, depending on static head. Without any kind of pump in the Triton to move water through the device, it relies on swimming (and presumably breathe suction?) to create the flow of water.  There’s too many variables in that, but let’s just say you’d certainly have to swim so fast to supply the needs of 15bpm that you wouldn’t be breathing 15bpm anymore.

All of this assumes the device is only stripping oxygen from the water, but if you think about it, that wouldn’t work very well.  You’ll get your 25mls of pure oxygen, but nothing else.  The human mouth holds over 75mls alone (don’t ask how I know this, let’s just say that I learned at college), with at least that much again in the trachea (it was a rough night), so you’re 6 breaths in just to get the gas to your bronchi, let alone the alveoli where the magic happens.

So I’m sorry Jeabyun Yeon, there’s not much future for the Triton.  You have an awesome name though. Very Jedi.

EDIT: After publishing, my wife pointed out to me that breathers like this were not only in the Star Wars films, but also in not one but TWO James Bond films: Thunderball and Die Another Day.  So, not only is it a fictional concept, it’s also not even an ORIGINAL fictional concept.

95 Replies to “Triton not. Dive, or dive not, there is no Triton.”

  1. that concept design does have a pump built in. So no, it is not coming anytime soon, if at all… but it’s not totally stupid.

  2. There’s a pump for compressing the oxygen produced into a “storage tank” (I can’t see this tank in the 3D models), but not one to create the necessary water movement through the device, at least as far as I can tell. That pump would need to be 1/4HP or more, so bigger than a SCUBA regulator

  3. A quantum nanopump moves the water through the gills, and expels the water in a jet which aids in underwater propulsion.

  4. you could imagine a specialty of dive-medicine dedicated to heal the neck injuries produced by the jets. Or a whole new set of exercises so that divers get very strong necks… or divers being recognizable in the street by their thick muscles under their jaws… ad nausea :-)

  5. That’s a huge amount of water to deal with.

    My first thought was that you’d have to stay about 20′ depth to avoid oxygen toxicity if you used it the way it is designed.

    So, you’d obviously have to add a rebreather component to the machine so you could mix your gas and go to whatever depth you wanted. The rebreather would also fix the tidal volume issue because the inert part of the air is saved in a counter-lung while the O2 is added for each breath and CO2 is scrubbed out.

    It would end up being much larger than the design Jeabyun Yeon drew up, still a bit smaller than a modern re-breather. They use minimum of 20 cuft tanks of O2 to run re-breathers, and that part would theoretically be replaced with the jedi mouthpiece.

  6. Wait, so this thing only extracts oxygen from the surrounding water? Because last time I checked, oxygen + pressure = death, which is why you don’t fill your dive tank with molecular oxygen.

    Also, it deserves to be noted that the slogan of that website is “Form beyond Function.”

  7. Good point! Below 30ft or so this thing would be lethal. As to form over function, how do I get a job rendering impossible objects for a living? I got a ton of ideas!

  8. what if you bundle in a small pack with a 187watt pump, and a golf cart battery, it can serve as ballast at the same time. the battery itself is 4.5kg the system would run for about 3 hours on one charge, as for the mix couldn’t you make a small rebreather now that you don’t need to carry the oxygen?

  9. Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t biological gills simply extract O2 molecules from water directly into the bloodstream? At what point is it gaseous and therefore breathable by a terrestrial primate on vacation?

  10. “how do I get a job rendering impossible objects for a living? I got a ton of ideas!”
    => the guy at renders impossible objects for a living :).

    As for the impossible Triton, an interesting concept would be to extract oxygen via electrolysis, although one would need a slightly more powerful battery :D.

  11. It is totally stupid, because it was conceived for a world we don’t live in. It’s fiction, pure and simple. Pushing fiction as if it was realizable is, well, stupid at best. Deluded, more like.

  12. Don’t treat this thing as if it was real. The 20cuft tank of O2 is way, way smaller than anything self-contained that could extract the same amount of oxygen from seawater. Even if we could develop some new technologies to fit everything in the volume of a 20cuft tank, it would still be nonsense: a 20cuft tank is a passive thing. If it doesn’t blow up, it works. The replacement system has a multitude of high-tech, complex parts in it. No, thank you.

  13. Not to mention that 78% of air is nitrogen gas, 21% is oxygen and only .04% is CO2. But when you exhale the composition of oxygen is down to 16-17% and the Composition of CO2 is up to 4-5%. So you also need a mechanism to recycle the nitrogen and extract and diffuse the CO2 into the sea water.

    The batteries needed to this for any extended period of time would be huge, as would the apparatus.

  14. Well in this case its delivering it to the mouth, so I guess in that sense it’s not a gill. I meant more in the sense that it extracts the oxygen from the water directly.

  15. Pushing fiction as if it was realizable is how we have some of our best inventions! The cell phone was first realized in Star Trek, remember the flip phone? There are many others. So to arbitrarily dismiss this idea as stupid is well… stupid.

  16. Its a concept and without knowing the capability of the nano structure that is planned to be used to extract the oxygen then saying its not possible is just absurd. Judging by the design and the amount of surface area of the nano tubes it seems to be close to what a fish’s gills would be for a similar size creature. So saying that is never gonna happen is a far stretch especially with the advancements in technology.

  17. I agree the project is not possible but
    when you say 90L per minute I think is an error

  18. Anyone with a bit of critical thinking would have called BS on this but this article was so well written and a joy to read anyway. Thanks Alistair.

  19. Here we go with the concept of imitation of nature. If you can not obtain oxygen from the water for mammals while maintaining real / practical dimensions, why can’t we make “artificial breath”? Imagine that you have a suit / cylinder that / and when in contact with air sucks in air, so that was enough to you for another 15 minutes swimming underwater. The next surfacing, the suit again sucks the air and we have another 15 minutes. In this way we imitate mammals. Now on we go. It should reduce the energy requirement, that the suit should have another type of fins (which may also serve as an air reservoir) as well as artificial muscles by our muscles reduced the work to a minimum.

  20. Follow the maths above. Even if it WERE capable of 100% efficient extraction of oxygen from water, the amount of water that would need to be filtered is not possible without a very large pump.

  21. The Triton is indeed nonsense for all the reasons Alastair Dove points out, but working artificial gills capable of supporting people underwater really have been made. They just don’t work very well, of course.

    I spent some researching this a few years back for an article for New Scientist

  22. The average person breathes around 15 times per minute at rest is totally correct but we don’t inhale 6 L per breath. We inhale between 10 and 20 L per min. So we can say an average of 15 L / min.
    If you want I can explain you how I know this.

    Anyway, if the compressor will be able to provide 15 L/min we know already that is not enough because there are too many variables like the deep, swimming speed, personal air consumption ect.. So we need at least 30 L/min
    We should consider that with pure oxygen we cannot go deeper than 6m and another important factor is the daily oxygen exposure that limits your dive at 6m for 45 min

    If this triton become real those who dive with it need a training for diving with pure oxygen

  23. Dany, man inhale cca. 6-7 L/min of air, which contains 1L of air. Let`s say we need 1L of oxygen per minute, for breathing.
    But here is no air but water, ie. oxygen is dissolved in water. There is ~8 mg oxygen in 1 liter of water. This is like 0.08 L of oxygen from any liter of water.
    So, to get 1 liter of oxygen from water we have to process cca 90-100L of water.

  24. Completely agree. Plus throw mathematics around all you want, clearly his design and concept had enough merit to be circulated around the internet for millions to see so for someone to completely shoot down the concept without all the info is both ignorant and not very scientific.

  25. No, we doesn’t use all of the volume of the tide all time.

    If it could use your “first” “deep” breath, then you put in, and would replace the amount of co2 with oxigen, probably it should work without that much gas extraction. The amount of breathing stored in the pipes. But whats with the N what the pressure pushes into your bloodstream? And could it compensate the accidentally gas amount losses? Nanotubes? Power supply?

  26. If the extracted oxygen was delivered directly to the diver’s bloodstream, so less oxygen was lost, do you think it would make this idea more feasible?

  27. If you told Columbus in 1492 that in the future in the 1960’s a man would land on the moon he may have said impossible that is stupid – so I get your point….but unfortunately yes this is a totally fictional stupid concept.

    A small floor in the concept is how would the diver control his buoyancy device with this streamline concept, but the stupidity is that had the Jedi Mr Yeon been a diver he would have known that pure oxygen at elevated partial pressure will kill a human being, so a little floor in the concept is that humans after 7 million years of evolution cannot breath pure oxygen underwater. So granted, if the human race survives anyone of the many extinction scenarios that may befall us and manages to last another 7 million years developing technologies that may prove this concept capable of extracting oxygen from water at the rates required, it would still kill us if we used it to dive! It would be a better idea to rely on evolution or genetic mutation to give us gills to allow us to get back to the underwater world where we originally came from all those millions of years ago. Q.E.D.

  28. Thanks for some basic engineering assessment, my intuition said the same thing, for example, where’s the large volume of nitrogen coming from? Also gotta scrub the CO2. Dimensional analysis is so good at debunking…

  29. I did not mention air, what is important is the volume of gas, in certain circumstances we can breath different gasses than air, i.e. pure oxygen

  30. Ok guys, listen, I teach this pretty often..
    How can we know how much gas we need underwater?
    It depends on depth.
    A regular scuba tank is about 12l or 80 ci filled at 200 bar
    I’m european, I prefer to explain everything in bar, litres and meters.
    12l x 200 bar = 2400 l
    2400 l / 15 l/min = 160 min
    If you try to breath exclusively through a regulator at the surface from this tank your autonomy will be around 160 min depending if you rest, walk, run or depending on your shape and healt.
    if you go underwater at 10 m the pressure is twice and you need double gas to breath. This means that your autonomy is 80 min. If you are a scuba diver you know that this number is real you just need to try how long you can stay at 10 m before to run out of air.
    Because we are talking about pure oxygen 10 m is lethal and 6m is the max depth.
    So at 5m the pressure is 1,5 bar, at 6 m is 1,6 bar and when you know this it very easy to understand your consumption is 15 l/min x 1,6 = 24 l/min
    So considering that you can vary your depth and certain people breath more than others the triton should provide at least 30- 35 l/min.

  31. Actually it is completely scientific because mathematics are used to show that the design is not feasible. Luckily internet popularity does not equate to scientific validity.

  32. And you really think that so much air wouldn’t make it difficult to go under the surface? You’d need lots of balast to stay underwater when holding as much air to keep you underwater for 15 minutes.

  33. Not that I believe this works, but ofcourse there is some CO2 in the water as well, so in theory you could get an O2 CO2 mix from seawater.

    But, it seems no one has asked the million dollar question yet:
    Have the guys who made the Triton actually tested it? and did they survive to tell abt it? :-)

  34. The compressor would have to be powerful enough to compensate for water pressure as you go deeper.

    Pure oxygen becomes toxic below 33 feet (2 atmospheres).

    I’m not understanding how nano-tubes can separate oxygen from water. Fish gills relay on hemoglobin that has an affinity for oxygen.

    The whole thing is pure BS or the inventor is trying to scam gullible investors.

  35. I did a similar calculation and got similar results, which gives me more confidence in both of our calculations.

    Regarding pumping, I can imagine a small motor to spin those gill cylinders, which could be shaped like a turbine to suck water in and past the gill membranes, and being much more efficient than a simple pump. A combination of convection, water currents, and diffusion would do some of the work for you as well.

    That said, this is work by a “designer”, not an engineer. So, while I think it might be possible to create such a working device, it seems overwhelmingly likely that this designer has done no such thing and it is merely a design concept: heavy on look and feel, and light on function. ;-)

  36. Sorry to interrupt here, but just a few days ago, you wrote a long and insightful post about keeping discussions both civil and scientific sound. And while I hate to introduce myself with a rant, that is what follows.

    As someone without much scientific background and although I lack the mathematic skills to keep up with you (my bad), I still was able to follow your reasoning and agree that this concept is not going to work as pictured. Solid science clearly communicated, as far as I am concerned…

    Pointing out scientific flaws and maybe even mocking them is part of your job.

    And yes, questioning the originality of a concept is easy, but valid.

    What I find very slightly irritating is this comment above.

    As someone who works as an illustrator and designer I could explain in detail how one might “get a job rendering impossible objects for a living”. But since it is not that different from getting a job doing parasitology for a living, that seems redundant.

    Excuse the sarcasm. Just remember your post about cognitive bias: Telling Mr. Yeon that his creation or even job is vain is as easy for you as it is for him to criticize yours as being unimaginative. If there was an businessman around, he would surely ask both of you where the money is :)

    What I’m trying to convey: One could (as I did) read your comment as a form of arrogance towards Mr. Yeon for not adhering to scientific standards or the form-follows-function mantra. Maybe even belittling art & design as a whole. I suspect this wasn’t your intention and very few of your readers will mind at all, but as a designer and illustrator, those remarks hurt.

    I have great respect and admiration for scientists. I appreciate the insane amount of work and dedication it takes to follow a scientific career. And just as scientists shouldn’t have to put up with ignorant and purely emotional arguments, artists shouldn’t have to explain their practical value.

    I believe you get my message. Sorry once again for writing such a long and somehow personal rant. I do appreciate your posts and do realize that I imply intentions you probably never had.

    – Ramses, Illustrator & Designer

  37. Well, there’s a way.. people in a town called Innsmouth apparently manage to grow gills and go back to the deep waters, but the price is quite steep.

  38. Your idea is fun, Harry. But you totally don’t get it.
    The main think here is a portable device that can produce oxygen on the flight. Other matters are just trivial, of course this device cannot help you to dive into the bottom of the Marianna right? But swimming around for hours or days is good enough already.

  39. actually in water you have usually 64% nitrogen and 34% oxygen, 1,4% CO2 and some other gases in smaller amounts. description of technology says that it keeps water away – which means you dont just get oxygen, you also get nitrogen and – suprise – CO2. 1,4% is much higher level than in fresh air. it is not enaugh to kill but may cause headaches.

    recycling own CO2 is not problem if it is just vented out, but then it needs fresh 0,5-1 L gas mixture for every breath and amount of water to be filtred goes up and up. on the positive side – if you use valves so that you suck water in from front and out the other side, you can use this water movement for propulsion :D

  40. Just two points :
    (1) as far as I know, divers don’t breath Oxygen(*with some exception), but Air.
    (2) as mentionned somewhere, oxygen is toxic for human at 6 m/20ft.


  41. Apparently, according to the yankodesign website, it is a 2013 sadi product innovation studio project (at bottom of page). So I looked up what “sadi” might possibly mean, and I found that the designer is a student of Samsung Art and Design Institute and focuses on product design. Being an Industrial Designer myself, I remember those days in college where we made up designs for our class requirements that looking back now are either not feasible or could actually be done by something else completely.

    It’s possible that this is not a thesis-level design/work where the fact that it might not work nor having a working prototype is not brought into consideration when grading the design.

    Not that I’m contradicting what Dr. Dove is saying in the article, or am I defending Mr. Yeon’s design. I think it’s good that Dr. Dove pointed how this piece of equipment isn’t really feasible and that he could actually provide designers with potential ideas on how to improve the SCUBA gear (is that redundant? SCUBA and gear?) used by divers.

    I acknowledge that sometimes we designer can get in over our heads. I remember talking to biologists and sanitation and environmental engineers while working on my thesis, and having to throw out some ideas already on the drawing board – especially since we were required to have a working prototype of our design. But that experience taught me to always do my homework regarding my designs and to figure out if it’ll work or not.

    Sorry for the long post, I just found it a bit amusing that people actually jumped on this design. Especially after learning that Mr. Yeon is still a student. Not that I’m putting him down, he’s actually got talent and is very creative. It’s just that most of his designs don’t have the technology yet to make them work. But if you know the story behind Motorola’s development of the hand-free headsets for their early cell phones (which is another long story in itself), you’d find that very promising


  42. My guess on this is that the core technology has been proven: extracting oxygen molecules which are SLIGHTLY smaller than both nitrogen and water molecules (the latter are also polar which might further hinder them from going through the nano-filter). But then the guy makes a cool-looking device on a 3D printer (or Photoshop) and sends out the BS info about a tiny battery operating a tiny compressor that would compress tiny amounts of oxygen for underwater swimmers to breathe and keep their lungs properly inflated at depth, and all the websites print it verbatim as “news”. “Oooh! How cool!” I suppose if a future lithium super-cell was produced, we might re-visit the topic, but until then … it’s science FICTION! As a former high school science teacher, I just want to say THANK YOU for writing this article so well.

  43. Gordon R Dickson’s “Secret Under the Sea” contained this idea before the Bond films, in 1960.

  44. Fair enough. Perhaps I was a little flip. I was annoyed at seeing an idea going viral that essentially has no basis in fact and is also not original. I certainly did not mean to disparage the field of design in general nor Mr Yeon personally; only to remind folks that these sorts of concepts must be partially grounded in reality or they have little value. On the other side, we have contributed even more to the virality of the Triton, so in that sense Yeon wins either way. Any publicity is good publicity, and perhaps stimulating this kind of discussion is the best value concepts like the Triton have.

  45. May i’m wrong, but even if it’s possible it would result in breathing pure oxygen. Where would it generate other gaz of air, of substitution ?

  46. Actually, to be fair, the devices in the Bond films weren’t like the Triton “device” at all. They weren’t supposed to be artificial gills or extract anything from the water. They were just miniature SCUBA tanks…smaller versions (and probably inspiration for)of the long commercially available SPARE AIR devices. ;)

  47. I think one these gadgets made an appearance in the awful “Oceans 12” or 13 or one of the sequels anyway. It fit right in.

  48. A question for anyone. Have scuba tanks been reduced as much as they can? Whats to keep from making a stronger ,smaller tank that can hold higher compression? I know nothing about this. Im a surfer and Ive always wondered how we can create a light tank that a surfer could use to stay under 1 to 5 min. Thats how long a set of xxl waves can hold you under for. The biggest issue is getting a regulator in your mouth while being cartwheeled underwater . you cant just put something in , the water power is too great.the other issues are weight, intrusive /dangerous shape and comfort. Invent a system for this, u will be making some cheese.

  49. While I think the critical thinking and the down-stream calculations are just great in evaluating the realism of this device, I would agree or suggest further that the vast propulsive energy expended or head-on current flow endured by any diver to find enough dissolved O2 in surrounding Arctic-cold water pass across and contact this small surface area, with both a super high drag and with a high resistance molecular-sieve for passive 02 extraction, would need to be tremendous. The persistent hydrodynamic load on your chest wall would provide one last exhale with no ability to inhale, just before your neck was snapped …. though that would reduce your ongoing oxygen requirements greatly. Everyone’s comments have been great in tackling aspects of the physics, chemistry, and physiology proposed to be overcome by this device.

  50. A friend of mine keenly viewed this device as a very poor application of the purported integrated technology…. “I particularly liked the ‘ . . . battery that provides 30 times the power and recharges 1000 times faster than a current battery.’ Hell, if that were to exist, it’d be worth a lot more to the world than powering any underwater O2 generator !

  51. You know what? All this will be so “yesterday” when I get done inventing the ” Oxy-gum”! ( 1070’s Marine boy) :}

  52. Yep and remember everyone. The world is flat! We can never fly, reaching the moon or outer space is absolutely out of the question too!

  53. Since the whole concept of capturing oxygen from water is absolutely NOT NEW,
    one should wonder whether the military, obviously having the spare funding to research such things, haven’t come up with an analog device already.

    And for all I know, compact scuba gear and rebreathers are probably the most efficient devices on the market. No artificial gills.

    However, if we forget everything above, I am also interested how would the device withstand any dirt in water. It shouldn’t be an only-indoors-pool device, but then again I see all the floating stuff in any lake blocking the device after a very short use.
    So that problem doesn’t seem to be addressed.

    As for the pump – if you need another piece of gear and basically are risking life in case either the device or pump malfunctions, I’d choose standard scuba gear 10/10 times.

  54. There are a couple points in this discussion that don’t make sense to me.

    First, does this device really only extract oxygen? The comments keep repeating that oxygen is extracted and oxygen is lethal below a certain depth. Fine. But wouldn’t this device extract any dissolved gas? That would mean the gas that is extracted by this device would be comparable to air, not pure oxygen. Unless there is some quirk of chemistry I’m not aware of where only the oxygen is dissolved in water. But I’m under the impression that all atmospheric gases are dissolved in the ocean.

    Second, by the math above I can see why this won’t work. But how can we definitively say no design like this will ever work? There is aquatic life that is larger than humans that live underwater. If they can do it, why can’t we? Granted, the problem could be that we’re warm blooded and require more oxygen the other sea life. After all, I believe all aquatic mammals have lungs instead of gills. But I don’t know that for sure.

    The second case bothers me more with the use of impossible. It’s impossible to travel faster than sound. It’s impossible to fly to the moon. It’s impossible for humans to fly. It’s impossible to split atoms. Impossible is a very dangerous word to use with anything scientific. Sure THIS design is impossible, but it doesn’t follow that ANY design is impossible. We just haven’t thought of it yet.

  55. Well humans dont use all the oxygen they breath in. They breath out quite a bit of it. When they breath it out it is still a gas. So you wouldnt have to extract a full breath of oxygen only the amount of oxygen the body has used. I’m not a biologist but If the nitrogen isn’t used either then it will not disappear either. So I imagine if there is a way to capture your exhalations process it with the oxygen extracted from the artificial gill and use a computer to balance the mixture of gases to a perfect composition then the amount of water needed to be ran through the gill is dramatically reduced. Of course that would redesign the entire system maybe using a gill suit where the gills run down the side of the body and a mouth piece come up to your mouth with a regulator directing the exhales and inhales.

    Now if Nitrogen is used then only a small bit of it. So you could have a small tank to add nitrogen to the mixture to get it to the correct composition.

    Based on previous comments I read only about 1/5th of the oxygen would need to be replaced (from a single breath) and that same amount of CO2 expelled (which would be the easy part).

    Now based on the idea I just came up with if they can make the thing to extract the oxygen from water then they could probably separate the air you exhale into nitrogen, CO2, and oxygen and put them in separate storage tanks then have a computer have each small tank expel the air into a combination for you to breath. The CO2 tank could have a release valve attached to a pressure sensor to let excess CO2 escape. The Nitrogen tank should be fine being a simple tank. And the Oxygen tank would have the gill hooked up to it to constant add oxygen to the tank.

    The only limiting factor I can imagine is either making a gill large enough that is efficient enough to supply the oxygen needed or a power source that can supply energy to a pump big enough to make it work. The rest is easily doable.

  56. i think this is very doable in the near future despite the facts you gave. i think this could be done with longer tubes that would just go around our bodies and suck water and take the oxygen out of it with the use of a pump,i am sure its very doable even today but not in the so small size it is in the picture,i am sure it will be reality some day in the near future!

  57. I came here from another website talking about the concept being pure fiction. I hope the guy doesn’t see your explanation or else he’s going to DIVE out of a window.


  58. Para_sight, this “idea” was also shown on several pokemon episodes, which makes it even funnier to me.

  59. The guy should use it to complement lung capacity as seaturtles do. They absorb oxygen throught their anus’ walls vascularization.

  60. No, no, no. You see, youve assumed that the clear plastic piece goes in your mouth entirely; actually the apparatus is approximately 50 feet across from tip to tip, which is ample surface area to extract the oxygen from water necessary for a human to comfortably breathe.

  61. Dr. Alistair is quite correct in his calculations.

    But even is such a device could be made there is another issue. That is the breathing of oxygen at pressure. Oxygen starts to become toxic at around 6-7 ATM ( that is one ATM at the surface of the earth and is roughly 15 lb.s / sq. inch). Every 30 ft. under water is equal to one ATM. Normal air is about 20 % Oxygen so the partial pressure of Oxygen at 150 ft. is 6 ATM. That is why recreational SCUBA divers don’t go below 140 ft. Pure Oxygen would reach that partial pressure at 30 ft. using such a devise. Not much use for diving and very dangerous.

  62. TBH the relation to HP is irelivent, if a pump can be made more efficent the the amount of energy consumed would be less. Id more or less also point out that if we breathed nothing but oxigen we would slowly die. The device would also have to recycle the air out and properly mix the return air like a rebreather.

  63. there’s a lot of O2 in a single litre of water..about 630 litres worth… now recalculate

  64. Apparently you don’t even know how this is supposed to work. It is not going to extract the oxygen from the water, but from the water molecules. It has a filter small enough for the oxygen ti come through, but not for the water molecules. As you might know about 8/9 parts of water is oxygen – therefore providing aprrox 888ml of oxygen/L water – more than 20 times the oxygen needed for one breath.
    The argument about extracting oxygen deeper down being dangerous is stupid too, and I really think that you shouldn’t make this kind of article without researching the stuff. As you might know, there is also a variable in Avagadro’s law that is the pressure. This means that while at a higher pressure the gas fills a smaller space (that is also why so much gas can be in a diving tank), and at a lower pressure it expands. This means that if you inhale oxygen at a great depth, and then hold it inside you while ascending, the oxygen expands, possibly rupturing your lungs.
    The only problem i don’t see a fix for (and I am just a high school kid) is oxygen intoxication.

  65. Apparently you don’t even know how this is supposed to work. It is not going to extract the oxygen from the water, but from the water molecules. It has a filter small enough for the oxygen ti come through, but not for the water molecules. As you might know about 8/9 parts of water is oxygen – therefore providing aprrox 888ml of oxygen/L water – more than 20 times the oxygen needed for one breath.
    The argument about extracting oxygen deeper down being dangerous is stupid too, and I really think that you shouldn’t make this kind of article without researching the stuff. As you might know, there is also a variable in Avagadro’s law that is the pressure. This means that while at a higher pressure the gas fills a smaller space (that is also why so much gas can be in a diving tank), and at a lower pressure it expands. This means that if you inhale oxygen at a great depth, and then hold it inside you while ascending, the oxygen expands, possibly rupturing your lungs.
    The only problem i don’t see a fix for (and I am just a high school kid) is oxygen intoxication.
    As for battery efficiency, this might take a couple of years, but we are getting there. This is current technology, 4 times:
    And I believe that a graphene based battery has been made, with a storage capacity 12 times that of current commercial lithium batteries.

  66. As a matter of fact that is 880g which according to avagrado’s law is 880g/16=60mol which gives us 60*22=1320liters – quite a different result

  67. I don’t need to. There is lots of oxygen in water, but only if you electrolyse the actual water molecules; dissolved oxygen is much lower at <6mg/L. This device is supposed to remove dissolved oxygen from the spaces between the water molecules by using nanotubes smaller than water molecules but bigger than dimolecular oxygen. Its not an electrolysis solution; the battery is for the compressor.

  68. No there isn’t. There’s about 6mg/L or less of dissolved oxygen. You’re talking about the oxygen contained within the water molecules themselves, which is not what this device is extracting.

  69. And as stated in my previous reply, the actual water is where this device is getting it’s oxygen from – not from the oxygen dissolved in the water. God. Listen, man.

  70. Hahah…hey, at least he’s thinking. This is how new ideas are born… ideas from ideas. Some folks are afraid of new ideas. I’m sure someday someone may work this out. It takes vision to get the ball rolling, so I say Kudos to him for trying to solve a problem, not just settling for status quo.

  71. The amount of pressure the surrounding water exerts on your body is too extreme at depths greater than six feet for this to work. You simply will not be able to expand your ribcage to get air in.

    ~15 lbs/in2 per 30 ft of depth. The area of an average human thorax is about 1000 in2. Do the math, your diaphragm and intercostals can’t possibly displace the weight of this much water without a pressurized regulator.

  72. Fish need the same 02 as we do in order to breath. If fish bigger than humans can extract and use the dissolved oxygen in the water by the use of their gills, then it is certainly feasible that scientist can find a way to artificially create a gill for humans. From what is known about fish gills the area would have to be bigger than the triton device but perhaps using nano technologies maybe not. This seems to me like it can be done and should be done.

  73. Matthew, the metabolic oxygen demands of warm-blooded mammals are an order of magnitude higher than those of cold-blooded fishes. That’s one reason why every marine mammal still needs to return to the surface to breathe air. No mammal has evolved a method for extracting sufficient dissolved oxygen from water to meet its needs.

  74. It is all just an idea wrapped in some slick styling. The so called inventor has not invented anything. He has drawn some pretty pictures and made a cute prototype probably in a 3-D printer but there is nothing inside it.

    It’s all wishfulness.
    As a reality check: RO filtering salt from seawater needs close to a thousand pounds per Sq inch to work and he thinks O2 could be extracted with a little battery powered pump?

  75. It has come to my understanding that they tried to develop this with the idea to replace a scuba set. Even if the triton was able to extract enough oxygen, one can only go 15 to 20 feet under without too much risk. Non enriched air scuba tanks are often filled with air, which if I remember correctly contains more nitrogen than oxygen. Going below 20 feet can be very risky due to oxygen becoming poisonous under pressure. Unfortunately, there is no nitrogen in ocean water. so as of now, it would be impossible to create a breathing apparatus that can replace a scuba set, unless someone can invent something to produce nitrogen into the apparatus without the need of another bulky tank.

Comments are closed.