Researchers to use exosuit to explore ancient Antikythera wreck

Researchers to use exosuit to explore ancient Antikythera wreck
Credit: American Museum of Natural History

( —Marine archeologists with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture research program (with support from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) are planning to explore the ancient Greek Antikythera wreck in the Agean Sea, using an exosuit developed by Nuytco Research—originally for use in helping workers in New York's water treatment facilities. The iron-man looking exosuit allows a diver to descend to 1000 feet for hours at a time without need for decompressing upon returning to the surface.

The Antikythera was discovered by divers in 1900—attempts to explore the wreck resulted in recovery of many artifacts, mostly famously, one that is known as the Antikythera mechanism—now referred to as the world's oldest computer. But it also led to injury and death due to the extreme depth (120 meters). Subsequent attempts more recently have led to more discoveries, but time constraints have prevented a thorough study of the wreck. Wearing the exosuit, the researchers hope will not only allow for mapping the wreck, but for discovery of more artifacts, some perhaps as interesting as the Antikythera mechanism.

The suit, which is essentially a body submarine, allows for both arm and leg movements, courtesy of multiple patented rotary joints. It also has 1.6 horsepower thrusters that are activated by the "pilot" via pads inside the boots. It's made of mostly aluminum, and weighs 530 pounds. The hands are claw-like, which has meant many hours of training in pools for the research team. The suit also has external LED lights and cameras, an oxygen replenishment system and a tether to the surface with a fiber optic gigabit Ethernet that allows for two-way communications, a live video feed, and monitoring of the suit and its wearer. In the event of an emergency, the suit has backup batteries and systems to maintain life support—if necessary, the four man crew up top can take over control of the suit to bring the diver out of harm's way.

Deep-Diving Exosuit

The team has scheduled a test run of the suit this summer at a site called the Canyons off the coast of Rhode Island. If all goes well, plans for exploring the Antikythera wreck can proceed, paving the way for a whole new way to explore undersea wrecks from virtually any era.

Researchers to use exosuit to explore ancient Antikythera wreck
Credit: American Museum of Natural History

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Jun 05, 2014
"originally for use in helping workers in New York's water treatment facilities"
I have to look into this... Why the heck would a city water dept need this? How much did taxpayers pay for THAT?

Jun 05, 2014
If so, likely for the same reason why employers use protection as elsewhere: good reasons.

As I understand it, the bacterial load from sewers are life threatening. E.g. swallowed matter means high speed transport to hospitals and several stomach pumpings and flushings to make sure the person makes it.

And the involved personnel has to be old hands, where the immune system has been trained for the bacteria and amount of them involved.

Using safe suits would then have multiple benefits, lower risks, less health and training costs, easier to rotate people into the work, et cetera.

Re pre-treatment, if that instead was the intended use, I assume NY has too deep cisterns to easily allow for divers then, if they need to check them for problems while filled. E.g. for cars, carcasses, blockages, ... And I bet divers is a hard sell anyway, considering the recent uproar when someone pee close or into the works...

Jun 06, 2014
Or, you could just look it the hell up.

"J. F. White, while supported by Nuytco and SeaView Systems, has recently completed the most technically complex ADS operations ever performed. These ADS dives were undertaken at New York City's Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) Shaft 19 where a new Ultraviolet Water Treatment Facility has been commissioned to service the City of New York's fresh water supply infrastructure."

-instead of, you know, guessing.

Jun 17, 2014
Very nice.
Most interesting results are to awaited from the Antikythera shipwreck.
But the video speeds too fast for us non-native English readers. We can't finish reading those two lines before they are gone.

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