Gizmodo recently posted this interesting post about atmospheric diving suits.
Atmospheric diving suits allow divers to work at great depths without the complications of dealing with compression and all that that entails. Caisson disease or the bends becomes real problem when working at depths below 100 ft for very long.
One rather obvious solution is to enclose the diver in a shell that can handle the increasing pressures of the depths. That would eliminate the diver suffering the consequences of the pressure and allow them to
The downside is that they require very complicated engineering to function. Especially the arm and leg joints. The problem of sealing a rotating joint of some sort under pressure and still have the joint move is not a small one. Over the last century or so, there have been many attempts at this problem, most of them not very successful.
The first attempt at an atmospheric was this one from 1878.
Here’s a link with some pic of the various suits over the years.
Atmospheric dive suits didn’t become practical unit the introduction of Oceaneering’s JIM suit in the mid 1970’s.
The latest suit seems to be the Exosuit which appears to be amazingly flexible for an atmospheric dive suit. I wouldn’t want to be suing for a long time as it’s probably pretty fatiguing to move all that metal and those joints under pressure.
The need to put people into hostile work situations will require innovative and highly technical solutions for some time. It’s unlikely that any machine will be flexible enough to handle the truly hostile and complex environments that exist. So when the time comes you need to put “Ivan in the suit” and go to work.