Pushing Snake Oil

It’s amazing how people will fall for something that sounds too good to be true. Take this, for instance.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/triton-world-s-first-artificial-gills-re-breather#/

If you look at the claims they seem like magic.  Well that should be an indicator.  Here’s ThunderFoot’s debunking.

 

And others.

http://www.grindtv.com/culture/experts-cry-foul-on-600000-artificial-gills-indiegogo-campaign/#TmCIevoO6jGjXMPE.97

 

Now the fact is that I’m just a little bit older than Thunderfoot and used to read divers magazines back in the 1980’s through the 1990’s.  An artificial gill was proposed back then as well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_gills_(human)

http://www.defensereview.com/like-a-fish-underwater-breathing-system-artificial-gills-for-us-navy-seals/

These people seem to be a bit more serious, but still it’s been 15 years and no product.

http://www.likeafish.biz/

At least they put enough technical details that you can make an honest assessment, unlike the Triton people.

In the real world you can’t make the pumps and such small.  Water is incompressible and gas compression is very energy intensive.  The machinery for dealing with stuff gets big very quickly and there’s  no magic Moore’s law for gas compression.

The idea of a little widget that allows you to breathe underwater is a pipe dream.  The mechanics are working against you.  By the time you add the pumps and the batteries to run the pumps your right back to the weight and size of scuba equipment in a package that’s far more delicate in a hostile environment. This is just more hokum.

Still people will continue to believe in magic especially if you surround it with science and techy sounding buzzwords.  And there will always be people pushing perpetual motion machines and 100 mpg carburators, along  those incredible bank transfers from Nigeria.

As Thunderfoot points out, too many people, especially those in the media eat this stuff up and believe it.  And then spread the hokum around masking the real incredible science stuff and technologies going on out there.   In the end all these people do is hurt their own credibility.

https://theartsmechanical.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/what-is-science/

Science communicators should stick to facts or make sure that people know that they are expressing opinions. And some of them need to got to “engineering for dummies” classes.

http://www.tested.com/old-categories/podcasts/565827-science-communication-caution-still-untitled-adam-savage-project-32916/

Update:

The original stuff from the 1980’s that I remembered.

http://www.nytimes.com/1984/07/10/science/inventor-s-goal-artificial-gills-for-people.html

H/T Gear junkie.

Artificial Gills To Breathe Underwater: A Million Dollar Scam?

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One comment

  1. roger · April 5, 2016

    if fish do it why can’t we…
    some scams never die…

    Like

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