Can this smart mask really revolutionise scuba diving?

The D-mask is an advanced full-face mask that could change the way we scuba dive forever, with a built in display, 1800 view and communication system, but will it live up to its game changing potential or fail to live up to the hype?

prototype
A concept image for the smart D-mask alongside both scuba diving and snorkel attachments

Nowadays it seems like everything in our lives are becoming ‘smart’ our TV’s, our phones, our watches and even our fridges. So it should come as no surprise that there is such thing as smart diving masks. However unlike some ‘smart’ products the new D-mask concept has the potential to be a real game-changer for the industry. With a sleek sci-fi inspired design and an abundance of novel features and technological upgrades, this full face mask can be used as both a snorkelling and scuba diving product, unlike anything that has come before it. However as promising as this design is for those who want to be able to fully explore the underwater world, can it really live up to its own hype?

What can it do?

At its most simplest the D-mask, designed by ZJ-DDG, is a full face snorkelling and scuba diving mask. A large lens is attached over the face by a full seal around the forehead and jawline whilst being secured at the back of the head, allowing for a full 1800 view without any interference from the mask itself. It can be attached to a snorkel or gas tank allowing for it to be used in both snorkelling and scuba diving. However unlike other full face masks on the market the D-mask takes things to a whole new level by offering a range of added bonuses. For starters a built in computer and sensors allows the D-mask to provide users with a real-time projected heads up display, capable of giving the user information on temperature, depth, time underwater, navigational data and remaining oxygen (whilst scuba diving). Not only can divers see all of this before their very eyes, but an accompanying app also allows you to see all this after dives as well.

snorkel attachment
One of the concept images showing how the D-mask (in snorkel mode) will look on someones face

If this isn’t enough then the D-mask also promises a two-way communication system via inbuilt microphones and bone-conducting audio, where sound waves are vibrated through the skull to be registered by the brain without the need for hearing via ears. This would allow divers to talk to one-another underwater, without needing to learn scuba sign language. It would also allow users to be able to listen to music underwater as well. Other beneficial features in the design include an LED torch inbuilt into the forehead of the mask and a small camera to take photos. All in all this mask promises to include almost everything a diver would need underwater, with extra added bonuses thrown in.

What makes it so game-changing?

Given all the incredible technology that is packed into the D-mask it is easy to see why it could potentially be so revolutionary for divers. When a diver is underwater there is a lot of equipment that they must have with them and know how to use, as well as be constantly monitoring. The beauty of the D-mask is that it replaces the need to have so much equipment and to constantly be checking it, because the heads up display tells you everything you need to know. So gear like depth gauges, dive computers, thermometers and oxygen readers can all be replaced by the mask. In addition to this divers also have no need to take things like dive slates, torches and cameras with them to enhance their underwater experience. All a diver with a D-mask would need is an air tank and BCD (buoyancy control device), as well as maybe fins and a knife if they wanted to.

scuba diving information
An example of all the things scuba divers currently have to check on a continual basis whilst diving 

A leap too far

This all sounds too good to be true, and unfortunately it probably is. Whilst the concept for the D-mask gives us a stylish and multi-functional gadget to explore the underwater world, in reality it is hard to see it become a reality. That is because there are still some serious problems that are yet to be addressed. Firstly, like all full face masks, it will be incredible hard to get a good seal around the face. Although concept images show divers with beards and long hair sporting the mask, in reality these things will make achieving a full seal, that can also will withstand high pressure, very unlikely. On top of this, full face masks also face problems with fogging up and accumulating CO2, which can both be problematic at depth. So whilst the D-mask could probably live up to its potential as an advanced snorkelling mask, it is unlikely to ever properly function as a scuba diving accessory in its current format.

The next step 

So is the D-mask really a revolutionary product for scuba divers? Well, no. However it is important to remember that it is only a concept and not yet a fully formed product, and it could definitely be the first step to becoming the game-changer it promises. A lot of the issues stated above are solvable with some moderate design tweaks or additional features. With additional advances in technology over time it could also deliver extra features, such as video capture, sound recording and scientific survey assistance. If futuristic technologies such as artificial gills, something previously promised and not delivered on before, it may even be possible to create a mask that can eliminate the need for air tanks as well.

rearview
Although the D-mask may not be a viable option right now, it may be a glimpse of the future of scuba diving technology

 

So you may have to wait a bit longer to buy the all-in-one scuba mask (assuming you can afford it), but if this design is anything to go by it is likely to be worth the wait.


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