Lessons From The Future

 

 

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Volume IX
Lessons From The Future

ARTIFICIAL GILLS 

IN THE 43 YEARS SINCE JACQUE COSTEAU DEVELOPED THE AQUALUNG MAN HAS MADE MANY INTERESTING UNDERWATER DISCOVERIES AND HAS IMPROVED SUBSTANTIALLY THE ORIGINAL DEVICE. DURING THOSE YEARS. IT EVEN AIDED ADVANCES IN SPACE FLIGHT, AS "WEIGHTLESSNESS" COULD BE PARTIALLY SIMULATED MORE EASILY AND ECONOMICALLY UNDER WATER. THIS QUALITY HELPED SCOTT CARPENTER TO BECOME THE WORLD'S FIRST AQUANAUT/ ASTRONAUT.

AFTER SEVERAL YEARS OF WORK, A QUANTUM ADVANCE IN THIS FIELD VIA A TOTALLY DIFFERENT PRINCIPLE, UTILIZING "ARTIFICIAL GILLS", COULD OPEN UP OUR UNDERSEA WORLD TO EVEN WIDER EXPLORATION. IT'S A WORLD THAT IN MANY WAYS WE KNOW LESS THAN WE DO ABOUT THE MOON.

ONE NOVEMBER DAY IN 1976 BIOCHEMIST JOSEPH BONAVENTURA MIXED WITH CHEMICALS SOME BLOOD FROM HIS FOREARM. IT TURNED INTO A PLASTIC-LIKE FOAM SIMILAR TO THAT IN PILLOWS. THIS URETHANE SPONGE COULD CAPTURE OXYGEN FROM WATER OR AIR. THE CONCEPT OF MAN WITH GILLS WAS BORN.

BONAVENTURE AND HIS WIFE CELIA, DIRECTORS OF DUKE UNIVERSITY'S MARINE BIOMEDICAL CENTER, THUS OPENED UP THE POSSIBILITY OF MAN AND HIS MACHINES BEING ABLE TO REMAIN UNDER WATER FOR PROTRACTED PERIODS FREE FROM CUMBERSOME PIPELINES AND RIGID TIMETABLES.

THIS "ARTIFICIAL GILL" COLLECTS OXYGEN DIRECTLY FROM SEAWATER (OR AIR) IN A MANNER SIMILAR TO THE HUMAN LUNG. IN THE 10 YEARS SINCE THIS RESEARCH TOOK PLACE ADVANCES NOW ALLOW THE FIRST STAGES OF COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT.

BLOOD IMMOBILIZED IN POLYURETHANE SPONGES OR CERAMIC BEADS IN CYCLINDERS TRAP THE OXYGEN DISSOLVED IN SEAWATER AND RECYCLING IT TO THE DIVER. THIS OXYGEN COULD ALSO SUPPLY UNDERWATER MACHINES IN THE SAME MANNER INSTEAD OF TODAY'S COSTLY AND SHORT-LIVED BATTERIES. IF A PLANE CAN NOW STAY UP IN THE AIR FOREVER WHY NOT A PERMANENT SUBMARINE OR EVEN AN UNDERWATER CITY?

IT ALSO HAS POSSIBILITIES FOR EMPHYSEMA PATIENTS AND OTHER PATIENTS. THE GOAL IS "A DEVICE THE SIZE OF A LADY'S PURSE THAT WOULD ALLOW PATIENTS TO BE MORE MOBILE". FURTHER DETAILS: CLAUDE L. GANZ, PRESIDENT, AQUANAUTICS CORP., ONE MARITIME PLAZA, SUITE 1750, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA 94111.

PHONE: (415) 433-0489

 

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