University of Arizona professor’s invention of underwater tent makes a splash during Shark Week

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – This isn’t your normal camping trip.

University of Arizona Professor Winslow Burleson and professional diver Michael Lombardi invented a portable inflatable tent that can be used underwater.

They nicknamed it Ocean Space Habitat.

“I had this idea that if you went to the Great Barrier Reef, instead of going up every day, you could go through a series of tents and spend three or four days underwater,” Burleson said.

Burleson said he’s always loved water.

“I swam before I could walk,” said Burleson.

Burleson said the Ocean Space Habitat provides divers with portable decompression respite. It also gives them a place to remove their gear, examine specimens, sleep, or even have a cup of tea, which Burleson said he did when he tested the tent off the coast of Rhode Island.

Discovery showcased the high-tech habitat in an episode called “The Great Hammerhead Stakeout,” which aired during Shark Week.

The episode which debuted on Shark Week follows a shark scientist and former Special Forces diver as they use the habitat to investigate reports of huge hammerhead sharks moving near a remote island of the Bahamas.

The Ocean Space Habitat can be installed in remote locations, using anchor screws to hold it in place.

“What is unique with the Shark Week tent is that we have built-in recycling technology that removes Co2 from the air and adds a small amount of oxygen to the air, so that it can sustain both individuals during the ten hours they are underwater, ”said Burleson.

Burleson said they have more plans for the habitat.

“We’re hoping to have a lot of different sizes for the tent, ranging from a backpack tent to something that’s a major underwater station,” Burleson said.

Burleson said the habitat and anchoring system are portable enough for divers to travel with their checked baggage.

“The beauty of the habitat is that it can be used for so many different things. It can be used for deeper dives, or shallower dives, very long dives, and we believe it will open up the world of underwater exploration in a way that the next generation will live and experience. work in the sea, ”said Burleson.

While Burleson is working on expanding this project, he’s also working on something else at the University of Arizona.

He hopes to create an underwater hockey club and recruits players.

Copyright 2021 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.

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