Say this isn't the coolest suit ever! The person who dons this suit will have powers to do what no normal human can do: dive 1,000 feet underwater, propel oneself up, down, backward, forward, and side to side with 1.6 horsepower thrusters, maintain a two-way communication with one's base, do a live feed, and all while in normal pressure and breathing oxygen normally for up to 50 hours.
The only problem that could arise, of course, is what to do when one gets hungry while inside that suit, because 50 hours is no joke, even in an awesome suit.
The exosuit was designed by Nuytco belongs to Research Ltd. of North Vancouver, Canada , and belongs to J.F. White of Massachusets. It took 15 years to develop and perfect, and it costs about $600,000, excluding all the support equipment. With all gears in, it cost $1.2 million. It will be used by marine biologists studying bioluminescent and biofluorescent organisms.
David Gruber, a marine biologist with CUNY-Baruch College, is the lucky one who gets to wear this exosuit this summer, in an expedition about 100 miles off the coast of New England. Gruber is a member of the Stephen J. Barlow Bluewater Expedition. Gruber was once part of an expedition in the Solomon Islands and, together with other scientists, viewed their subjects underwater from inside a three-person submarine.
Now Gruber and his team actually get to walk and float right alongside the very organisms that they are studying. And because the exosuit has eighteen joints, it is flexible enough to allow them to get close to the organisms for sampling and imaging via the highly sensitive cameras mounted on it. The suit has manipulators shaped like claws that can allow its wearer to pick up organisms. Despite its weight above water, the suit feels weightless when underwater.
The suit will be utilized in tandem with a remotely operated vehicle that is also outfitted with highly sensitive cameras. The Barlow Expedition will be exploring a "middle" region of the ocean that has not been examined in this manner before.
The suit has been worn in test dives by Michael Lombardi, who is the safety officer and who is slated to lead the Barlow Expedition. He will be working with chief scientist Pieribone, a researcher at the John B. Pierce Laboratory at Yale University.
"We've had very limited snapshots of that environment using conventional technologies," said Lombardi. "But now for the first time we can really immerse ourselves in that environment for a length of time that that allows us to do productive work, and the information we gather will be paradigm changing."
Paradigm-changing, indeed! Marine biologists suiting up in the exosuit to study organisms that light up 1,000 feet underwater is the epitome of geeky coolness. One wonders what Iron Man would have to say about this suit.