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Old 10 November 2016, 05:12
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DARPA Powerswim

So this is the PowerSwim device. I was going thru some old stuff b/c I'm still on Guam time and up at 0400. I have a good vid, but the still pic will have to do. Basically, this is a really fun hydrofoil-type device that lets you swim around 3 knots under human power. I was the experimental diving coordinator for multiple swim trials at the high speed test basin at NSWC Carderock MD. The test basin is really an underwater oval racetrack that they pull/push scale models of vessel hulls thru at speeds up to 40kts. A straddle crane on rails follows you from above with all the instrumentation for the human factors engineers, etc.

When I was initially swimming it, it was so fast that I was banging into the sides of the racetrack, hitting the bottom, and "falling over" underwater. The engineers pulled me up and asked me if I could just swim in a straight line, please. My response was (minus the swearing), "I'd love to swim in a straight line, but no one has ever swam this fast before". I really wanted a pair of pec fins and a dorsal fin, but had to settle for my nav board, which I used as a crude plane to stay level.

It was invented by an old coot waterman in Santa Barbara in the 60s under the name Aqueon. This guy did the Alcatraz swim with it to prove the concept.
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File Type: jpg mcmullen ps.jpg (18.3 KB, 311 views)
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Last edited by sarc88; 10 November 2016 at 05:38. Reason: couldn't upload vid
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Old 11 November 2016, 18:49
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Pretty awesome
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Old 12 November 2016, 00:26
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That's really cool. How much effort does it take vs say, Jet fins to maintain that 3 kts?
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Old 14 November 2016, 12:19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronCross View Post
That's really cool. How much effort does it take vs say, Jet fins to maintain that 3 kts?
Very little effort. With jets and a uniform on, you're doing pretty good to maintain 0.8 kts over time. The human factors guys who crushed all the data for the project were using end-expiration C02 content as a measure of efficiency. Over the week, and after minimal practice, they estimated 4-6X more efficient than kicking fins.

One of the challenges swimming it was that the top fin of the device impacts your belly just about exactly where our closed-circuit rig is strapped, but a shorter stroke solved it.
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Old 14 November 2016, 12:25
8654maine 8654maine is offline
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I can see how it would be easy to go below the max depth on that w/ closed circuit and rough seas. Still cool.
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Old 14 November 2016, 22:12
Azatty Azatty is offline
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If only that were USAT legal...
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Old 15 November 2016, 11:32
Shark0311 Shark0311 is offline
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That's awesome.
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Old 23 November 2016, 13:31
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Awesome! What would it take to see the video?
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Old 29 November 2016, 13:08
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If only that were USAT legal...
Amen!
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