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New Technology Allows Divers to Reach 1,000 Feet, Remain Under Water for Hours

April 3, 2015 @ 7:30 am - 9:00 am

WHOI Staffer Discusses the Technology and Its Recent Use in an Expedition off a Greek Island to Explore an Ancient Shipwreck as topic of Cape Cod Technology Council’s April First Friday Breakfast

When a group of marine archaeologists explored an ancient shipwreck off a Greek Island in the Aegean Sea last September and October, the team included members of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and deployed advanced diving technology that overcomes the challenges of the deep for longer, better study by humans. Ed O’Brien, diving safety officer at WHOI and a key member of the team, will discuss the technologies and the fascinating expedition at the April First Friday breakfast of the Cape Cod Technology Council.   The breakfast will be held on Friday, April 3 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Hyannis Golf Club on Route 132, Hyannis.

In exploring the Greek site that was too deep for traditional scuba equipment but too shallow alone for autonomous underwater vehicles and their necessary above-surface support vessels, the international team turned instead to a combination of underwater robots to try to map and photograph the site, rebreathing diving gear to allow humans to stay down longer by re-processing exhaled air, and a new robotic Iron Man-like diving apparatus called an Exosuit, which allows divers to stay under water for hours and descend to 1,000 feet. The excursion was the suit’s experimental debut in the world of undersea archaeology.

Edward F. O’Brien has been with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution since 2007 serving as the Diving Safety Officer for the last five years. In this capacity, his responsibilities include training scientific divers and supervising and approving Institution Dive Operations that take place around the world.

Ed has been a catalyst in enhancing advanced diving skills and in utilizing state-of-the-art diving systems such as Closed Circuit Rebreathers (CCR) and the “Exosuit “Atmospheric Diving System (ADS), pictured above, in the Institution’s projects. The advanced diving systems employ new technology to enhance safety and efficiency to accomplish and further the scientific goals of the expeditions.

Having graduated from Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 1987, Ed’s career has taken him worldwide working as a Merchant Marine Officer and Commercial Deep Sea Diver prior to assuming his position as Woods Hole’s Dive Safety Officer.


April 3, 2015
7:30 am - 9:00 am
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Hyannis Golf Course
1840 Iyannough Rd
Hyannis, MA 02601 United States
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