Scuba diving is challenging and fun but learning to compensate for buoyancy can be difficult. A scuba diver must constantly adjust the air in a bladder as he breaths in and out or attempts to ascend or descend. When photographing underwater it can be hard to stay focused on your depth and often divers find they have ascended all the way to the surface while they were preparing a shot. To allow the diver to simply enjoy the environment, a system is needed to stabilize divers with minimal intervention. Think autopilot for diving.
I created the Automatic Buoyancy Compensation Device (ABCD) during my senior year at MIT. The device was envisioned to be a simple add-on to any popular Buoyancy Control vest on the market. The device would control the air in and out of the vest to maintain optimal buoyancy. A user would simply adjust buttons on the hand control to set depth and rate of decent or rise and the device would do the rest.
A tiny pressure gauge is used to determine depth. By comparing readings, the vest can determine the velocity and acceleration of the diver. A small solenoid air valve controls the vest, adding or releasing air as needed to maintain the diver’s buoyancy. Other data is measured and input into a control algorithm to adjust buoyancy on demand.
This vest could be very practical for novice divers, technical divers, and underwater photographers.