Training Regimen for Space Age “Exosuit” – Atmospheric Diving System has begun

exosuit diagram

(click to enlarge)

The first scientific expedition utilizing the new Exosuit Atmospheric Diving System is taking place this summer in Rhode Island. The mission team will be investigating the mesopelagic environment at depths up to 1000 feet, or 10 times the conventional depth of scuba.

Objective: to observe, image, and collect bioluminescent organisms that may provide critical information in advancing the field of neuroscience and related biomedical imaging.

The Exosuit is the next generation Atmospheric Diving System (ADS) designed and constructed by Nuytco Research Ltd. in North Vancouver, Canada. The Exosuit keeps the pilot at surface pressure, therefore eliminating the physiological hazards associated with deep diving. The first production system was purchased and recently accepted by the J.F. White Contracting Company, a civil engineering firm in Framingham, Massachusetts, who has generously reached out and engaged partners at the John B. Pierce Laboratory at Yale University and the American Museum of Natural History to carry out this inaugural mission. This first scientific mission is being organized to honor the memory of the late Mr. Stephen Barlow, who was instrumental in bringing the Exosuit ADS to J.F. White.

Exosuit and Stephen Barlow

The late Mr. Stephen Barlow’s leadership and vision proved instrumental in bringing the Exosuit to J.F. White. Provided courtesy J.F. White Contracting Company

The first Exosuit expedition is being coordinated by Michael Lombardi of Rhode Island, the Diving Safety Officer for the American Museum of Natural History, and a Special Projects Consultant for the J.F. White Contracting Company. Lombardi is no stranger to the deep – his recent work, funded by multiple awards from the National Geographic Society, has taken scientific diving to the lower limits of Mesophotic (or ‘middle light’ ecosystems) to depths exceeding 400 feet using forward looking approaches in advanced diving techniques. This has resulted in numerous discoveries including a recent new species of fish, Derilissus lombardii, that is now archived at the American Museum of Natural History. He states, “working in a new frontier exposes tremendous potential for humanity. The fact that we can acquire vast amounts of new knowledge in just minutes of exploration is all the justification we should need to scale-up a renewed human presence in our oceans.”

Exosuit underwater

Michael Lombardi test dives the Exosuit. Photo provided by Jim Clark

First official TDI Exosuit ADS Training Program

TDI is the only training agency to offer training and certification for the Exosuit Atmospheric Diving System (ADS). The first official TDI Exosuit ADS training program, was hosted at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and supported by the J.F. White Contracting Company.

Training and proficiency operations were completed in May, with work taking place at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. This winter, Lombardi, in collaboration with the Training Department at Technical Diving International, revisited training and operational standards for Atmospheric Diving System programs to draft a new training program for the Exosuit. Standards for this technology have not been addressed since the mid-1980’s and remained a bottleneck in realizing success with affording the technology to the science community.

The training was in prep for a mission this fall in Greece where divers will be investigating the Antikythera wreck site, home to numerous bronze age artifacts including the famed Antikythera mechanism (world’s first ‘computer’), and is in fact, the first underwater archaeology site ever investigated (circa early 1900’s). The team will be surveying and recovering artifacts from a 500 foot depth contour that has been previously out of reach.

The project team is engaging strategic partners to share in the benefits of this first mission.

More information about The Antikythera Mechanism Wreck here.





More information about the Exosuit can be found at: