The makers of a highly controversial crowdfunded diving device known as “Triton” have issued refunds to every single one of its backers. They’ve since relaunched the project with a new funding campaign, and have issued updates regarding the so-called science behind their mysterious piece of kit.
The inventors of this particular piece of diving kit, essentially artificial gills for humans, boasted about its literally unbelievable features. Despite being blasted by the scientific community, Triton somehow managed to still run a successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, nearly reaching $1 million, way beyond its original target of $50,000.
Held in just your mouth, its inventors claimed that it could filter oxygen from the water you were diving through, compress it, store it, and allow you to comfortably breathe underwater for at least 45 minutes. As we’ve thoroughly outlined here, none of this is possible with current technology or even without the swimmers travelling through the water at incredible speed.
Above is a CGI video from Triton showing off the device
A new update on the Indiegogo site has revealed that all of these original public backers have been refunded. The microporous filter technology touted by the first campaign isn’t mentioned in the update; instead, the canisters containing the stored oxygen are focused on.
“Inside of each Triton,” the company said in its statement, “the artificial gills utilize 'liquid oxygen,' which combined with the other components allow users to breathe underwater.” One of the primary problems with the original device was the impossibility, based on current technology, to compress enough oxygen in such a small space. This hasn’t been addressed here, and it’s curious that the term “liquid oxygen” is in quotation marks.
It also seems the scientifically impossible filtration technology has remained on the project’s main page. Without moving, oxygen can’t be filtered anywhere near fast enough through the device, so it’s genuinely baffling how a new video by the company shows someone underwater apparently using the device while remaining completely still.
Above, someone appears to use the Triton device for 12 minutes underwater, although it's unclear how truthful the video is.
Stephan Whelan, founder of the online diving community DeeperBlue, remains skeptical. “We have to warn anyone even briefly considering this crowdfunding campaign that they need to consider very, very carefully putting a single dollar into this product,” he wrote on the community’s website. “There is no actual proof the tiny 'liquid oxygen cylinder' technology exists as they describe it.”
Despite the epic question marks floating ominously over this project, its relaunch has already gained it more than $290,000 – way beyond its target of $50,000. Only time will tell if the science behind the device, or lack of it, is revealed to the public.