Jump into the water or not? No fill. Just a Triton gill.
Diver Magazine Article May 2016
By Stephen Weir
|The Triton - from an on-line sales brochure|
It is December 2016. You are about to jump into 5 metres of water with a new untested Triton underwater gill in your mouth. What is going to happen after you take that leap of faith? If Triton performs the way its inventor says it will, the scuba-free dive era is here!
Triton claims you will be able to swim at a depth of 5m for 45-minutes without needing scuba gear. Your air is processed by the device from the water you are swimming in!
Not likely, says the New York City based Tech Insider magazine. They ask is the technology Triton touts more science fiction than fact?
Triton is South Korean designer Jeabyun Yeon’s brainchild. He describe it as “a state-of-the-art oxygen respirator, that allows you to breath underwater at a maximum depth of 15ft by utilizing our ‘artificial gills’ technology and liquid oxygen technology.“
It looks like a scuba regulator with side wings. “Gently bite into the mouthpiece, breathe normally, and enjoy a sense of underwater freedom!”
The Triton has holes in it that are smaller than water molecules; the water is kept out while oxygen flows in. It has a micro compressor that extracts and stores the oxygen in a small storage tank – allowing you to breathe naturally underwater.
“The artificial gill works with liquid oxygen to produce enough oxygen for a human to breathe,” says the company. It hopes to start shipping at year’s end.
“It's easy to see the appeal of the handheld device. It looks seductively simple," writes Kevin Loria at the online Tech Insider. Despite a failed and then revived slick crowd-funding campaign, there's no evidence that this device actually works, experts told the Tech Insider.
The project is currently listed with IndieGogo, it is the second time the crowd funder has showcased the device. The first Triton campaign was withdrawn in March and money returned to investors following widespread claims of scam and substantive bad science surfaced.
Loria interviewed marine biologist Alistair Dove. “Dove notes that even if a device is 100% efficient at pulling oxygen from water, you'd still need to force enough water through a pump to collect all the oxygen required to breathe normally — upwards of five liters every 15 seconds,” writes Loria. “He calculated doing so would require a pump bigger than the Triton itself. Since there's apparently no water pump on the device, it's unlikely enough water could naturally pass through it while swimming to provide the oxygen needed.”
Loria also quotes Dr. Neal Pollock, research associate at the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology ( Duke University Medical Center).
"In concept it sounds very good and it's very exciting," Pollock says. “ It's not realistic, it's science fiction; more in the realm of James Bond in Thunderball or Jedi Knights in Star Wars: Episode I."Dr. Pollock told he stands by Tech Insider. “I do have grave reservations concerning the promises (the Triton makers have) made. The technological jumps would have to be huge. Furthermore, the re-release of the (IndieGoGo) campaign included acknowledgment that the fundamentals described in the first (IndieGoGo pitch) were untrue. The change in direction in the re-release also hold elements unlikely to be delivered.”
|Diver and Triton - sales sheet picture|
Triton hears the criticism. They say that before delivering the first underwater gill technical data will be released.
“Some followers have asked us to release more detailed information about Triton and how it works,” reads the company’s Facebook account. “We are going to release the information on the technical part of Triton as soon as we can … we don't have our patents ready … this is our company secret, we will (only) release all the technical information after our patents are signed.”
Investors believe! Triton ‘s second go-round with IndieGoGo has already raised $385,000 (Triton asked for just $50,000). Triton is accepting orders at $299 per unit.
Meanwhile dive community social media criticism mounts. On the popular Scuba Board divers say that Triton product videos are doctored and that fraud is being used to attracted investors and divers. One anonymous poster, Tri-Chicken, has made a YouTube parody of a Triton marketing video, replacing the gill with a rubber chicken.
“The video was created for the people who still think that the most recent Triton video is proof that the device must work,” TriChicken told Diver. “This video was shot in less than half-an-hour of pool time.”
So, for investors and that diver wondering if he should jump in, TriChicken’s message is simple: wait till the eggs hatch (i.e. working device is made) before plunging in over your head.
Editor’s note – Diver Magazine has been unsuccessful in reaching/interviewing Jeabyun Yeon
|According to Triton (Indiegogo, the device costs $299 for investors) "Our Indiegogo campaign goal is to start shipping our first Tritons by December 2016?|
SIDEBAR - The project’s biggest selling tool is a YouTube video that explains how the Triton works. Already over 1.1 million people have looked at the film – and the view count continues to rise https://youtu.be/IyrQc1Z4g3Y.
Meanwhile the parody video is getting an equally huge following. Tri-chicken’s YouTube is at: https://youtu.be/lXv_AohVUcQ