Breathe underwater! Take your two wave hold downs with a few grains

Stu Nettle
Surfpolitik

"New Product Will Help Humans Breathe Underwater!"

Every few months one of these headlines rolls around the internet sending big wave hearts - and those who wish they had the heart - a'flutter. The last example was in March this year when the Triton Oxygen Mask was unveiled. Designed by South Korean Jeabyun Yeon, the Triton was a breathing apparatus that supposedly extracted oxygen from seawater. Aspiring big wave surfers could finish with their Breath Enhancement Training and underwater rock running by simply lobbing one of these in their gob (see image below).

Unfortunately it happened to be another internet hoax, although in this case the deception was inadvertent. Jeabyun Yeon was a designer providing a “visualization for a conceptual diving respirator without a tank." The Triton was simply a concept, and as such it needn't adhere to such annoying things as physical reality.

The fact that breathing pure oxygen ain't too good for humans, and that doing so under pressure is often fatal, was just one of the Triton's sticking points. That surfers fell for it says we're either a wee bit gullible, or the desire to breathe underwater is compelling. Maybe it was a bit of both.

screen_shot_2014-10-27_at_11.33.50_am.png

In a recent issue of Chemical Science a study was published under the esoteric name 'Oxygen chemisorption/desorption in a reversible single-crystal-to-single-crystal transformation'. The research was conducted by scientists at the University of Southern Denmark after they had successfully created a substance that's able to absorb and store oxygen in such high concentrations that "just one bucketful is enough to remove all of the oxygen in a room".

The substance - its exact chemical make-up hasn't been made public - is also able to release the stored oxygen in a controlled manner when it is needed, so just a few grains could replace the need for divers to carry scuba tanks.

You can see where this is going...

Science-type publications picked up on the research reproducing it for the layman in articles with titles such as "Want to be Aquaman?" and "Oxygen absorbing material may allow us to breathe underwater".

Putting on my skeptics hat I Googled the scientists involved - they're all legit - and I also searched for their research - it exists, as does the journal it was published in.

In terms of commerical applications, the substance can theoretically help the infirm, such as lung patients who currently carry heavy oxygen tanks, and increase efficency in the internal combustion engine. And when fossil fuels inevitably run out the substance may help create energy as Science Daily loftily opined, "Perhaps one day in the future even sunlight-driven “reversible” fuel cells will be made. With these we will have to separate oxygen from hydrogen in order to recombine them in order to get energy."

All that is left is to find out whether the scientists' work can be applied to such noble activities as breathing underwater. Professor Christine McKenzie, who led the research, thinks so. "Divers may one day be able to leave the oxygen tanks at home and instead get oxygen from this material as it filters and concentrates oxygen from surrounding air or water. A few grains contain enough oxygen for one breath, and as the material can absorb oxygen from the water around the diver and supply the diver with it, the diver will not need to bring more than these few grains”. 

No word from the good professor about the effects of breathing pure oxygen.

See links above and read more here, and here.

Thanks to Shane Arrold for the heads up on this story. I'll see you out at Jaws this Hawaiian season.

Comments

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Monday, 27 Oct 2014 at 1:07pm

The picture being used is a hoax isnt it ?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 27 Oct 2014 at 2:04pm

I pinched it off the 'net Camel, and when I went back to check it I couldn't find it again!

It'll forever remain a mystery, though I think your guess is as good as mine.

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free commented Monday, 27 Oct 2014 at 2:34pm
mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free commented Monday, 27 Oct 2014 at 2:42pm

Love the comment from beachbum1965, Suffolk, United Kingdom, 9 months ago

Can I have it delivered at the same time as my hoverboard please?

If its true Camel's out of a job

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

miklosman's picture
miklosman's picture
miklosman commented Monday, 27 Oct 2014 at 3:08pm

looks like initial articles may have been incorrect as this was posted on Motherboard recently,
Update 10/1: We've updated this post to correct a calculation error on the part of the researchers that suggested the oxygen-absorbing compound is far more efficient than it actually is. In an emailed statement, a representative for Syddansk University said "I am just updating our story on our website, because it turns out that Prf McKenzie made a calculation error. Pls note that it is not a SPOONFUL of this stuff, that we need to rid a room of oxygen. It is a bucket (10 litres). We apologize." Motherboard apologizes for any confusion

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Monday, 27 Oct 2014 at 3:29pm

Hey no the hoax i mean is the wave ! 100ft left ?

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Monday, 27 Oct 2014 at 4:42pm

Nah Caml that's just uplift at blacks circa early 1900's. Deluxe eh?

southey's picture
southey's picture
southey commented Monday, 27 Oct 2014 at 8:52pm

It is a hoax . It's actually a shot I took of Morris at Port Albert Bommie .
Except instead of photo shopping him to look smaller /the wave bigger it's been downsized .
It was a paddle wave , Shaun Fitz Morris and Morris McShaun paddled in tandem on a SUP , in which Morris did a step off onto his 5-11 rice bubble board . Welly was on water safety and had cleared all avalanche risks earlier . Uplift was supposed to be in Morris's place but tore a fetlock carrying his ego from the car .... I wasn't there , but took the footage from an orbiting satellite I hijacked with Craig's help ....
It was part of the outages that never made it to edit for Waterworld 3 .
Sheepy wrote the script ........

" Gimme More Power "

ACB__'s picture
ACB__'s picture
ACB__ commented Tuesday, 28 Oct 2014 at 3:37pm

that is literally 99% of swellnet forums covered.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Monday, 27 Oct 2014 at 6:20pm

Given the current state of the technology, I wouldn't hold my breath for it becoming available.

I know, I'm sorry but I couldn't resist it. But if you want something worse what about the ABC report on Pistorius that stated, and I quote "......he had the world at his feet until...."

whaaaat's picture
whaaaat's picture
whaaaat commented Tuesday, 28 Oct 2014 at 12:37pm

Damn that's gold!!! Priceless!

Had me stumped for a moment, but then I walked - sorry, worked - it out.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Tuesday, 28 Oct 2014 at 1:04pm

Hi whaaaat yeh I heard it on the TV news and it took me about 5 seconds but what was the editor thinking to miss that!

whaaaat's picture
whaaaat's picture
whaaaat commented Tuesday, 28 Oct 2014 at 1:24pm

Yer still got it.

ACB__'s picture
ACB__'s picture
ACB__ commented Tuesday, 28 Oct 2014 at 3:39pm

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B0kfK2dIMAEPq3V.jpg:large

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Tuesday, 28 Oct 2014 at 3:57pm

Haha!

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Tuesday, 28 Oct 2014 at 2:14pm

Pistorius ?