A New Diving Suit Might Help Find The Cure For Cancer


This story has sci-fi movie written all over it. A new diving suit designed by Phil Nuytten called “the exosuit” is helping scientists study bioluminescent organisms deep in the Atlantic Ocean, which could lead to a cure for cancer.

The suit which stacks up at over six-feet-tall and 530 pounds is the first of its kind and allows deep sea explorers to plunge more than 1,000 feet underwater.

Nuytten who has been designing diving suits for over 50 years told Mashable he sees himself as a diving suit blacksmith. “It’s a paradox: You need a suit that’s rigid to withstand the outside pressure, but you also need to be able to move and walk,” he says. “That was the big problem I had early on. The heart of an ADS (atmospheric diving system) is the joint system. Without that, the suit’s nothing more than a small submarine that you wear.”

The diving suit will maintain an internal pressure of one technical atmosphere that is the same as the sea level pressure , thus eliminating the pressure dangers associated with deep sea diving. What’s even more impressive is the suit’s inner workings and that operators don’t even need to be swimmers.

The Exosuit has multiple oxygen systems, located on the back, that hold up to 50 hours of one atmosphere-type life support. There are four 1.6 horsepower water-jet thrusters, also on the back, that divers can use to propel through the water like astronauts in zero gravity. The arms end in stumps, onto which divers can attach a variety of hand-like gadgets, depending on the mission.

Inside the helmet is a side panel that displays oxygen and pressure conditions, including a transmitter so pilots can communicate with teammates on the surface. The rotary joints, which Nuytten argues are the most important aspects, are laced with oil that helps reduce friction and ensure movements are as smooth as possible.

Previously, scientists were only able to obtain the bioluminescent organisms through remote trawling nets, but now they can observe them up-close in their natural environment. The goal for the divers will be to collect organisms’ unique, fluorescent proteins which will be used in studies for cancer detection and spinal cord injuries.

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