Atmospheric Diving Suit Evolution Timeline
The humanity has always sought to extend the frontiers of knowledge, in particular by discovering the new heights and depths. Both realms are ripe for exploration, offer extensive potential benefits and come at a hefty price. While space has been the clear leader in terms of public attention and funding, the ocean was the first hostile environment that we sent people into. We had designed diving suits long before the first spacesuits or spacecrafts were built.
There is one particular type of diving gear that is older than scuba equipment and can now take divers to the impressive depth of around 2,300 feet (700 m) - an atmospheric diving suit. Technically speaking, an ADS is a small one-person articulated submersible of anthropomorphic form which resembles a suit of armor. The idea of such suits is to allow people to do very deep dives, lasting for many hours, and eliminate the majority of physiological dangers associated with deep diving. The occupant of an ADS does not need to decompress or use any special gas mixtures. What’s more, the divers don’t even need to be skilled swimmers.
The first Atmospheric Diving Suits were designed in the late 18th century and were far less advanced than their modern relatives, however, it is still astonishing how people could build such elaborate mechanisms with the technology of the time. The most modern ADS - the Exosuit, is a comparatively lightweight system, which allows the diver to explore the great depths without succumbing to the cold and intense pressure. In addition to providing protection, the Exosuit features 1.6-horsepower foot-controlled thrusters and 18 rotary joints in the arms and legs to provide freedom of movement never achieved before. Life support uses an oxygen rebreathing system and can last for 50 hours.
In order to illustrate the fascinating evolution of the Atmospheric Diving Suit, we have created the timeline below. Enjoy!