Scuba enthusiasts will want to keep an eye on the Scubus S -- a tricked-out underwater mask that hopes to bring the promise of Google Glass-type wearables to a coral reef near you.
Currently in development -- a crowdfunding site is scheduled to launch November 10 -- the Scubus S looks to be an alternative to high-end pro scuba systems. The most notable feature is a built-in, heads-up display that shows time, depth, water temperature and a limited chat function for communicating with other divers.
The chat thing is interesting. Because near-range wireless technologies like Bluetooth don't work underwater, the Scubus S uses an acoustic wave system with a range of around 100 meters.
Acoustic wave systems are fairly dodgy, though, due to necessarily limited bandwidth, data rates and troublesome signal attenuation. Instead of voice audio or text messaging, the Scubus S lets you select from a list of about 20 pre-set messages via the HUD and a wrist-mounted controller. Select a message -- "Emergency! Help me now!" or "Take picture of me!" -- and it pops up in the HUD of other divers in range.
"Since most of our team members are scuba diving enthusiasts, we are well aware of how limited underwater communication is," said team member Noah Smith in an email to Discovery News. "It boils down to hand signals that scuba divers have to learn and use in order to communicate. It's far from perfect and sometimes it can be pretty challenging."
The Scubus S mask also includes a built-in HD video camera with a 135-degree angle of view and recording options of 1080p at 30 fps, or 720p at 60 fps. Still photos are snapped at 12 megapixel resolution.
Onboard memory is 16 GB, and the lithium-ion battery is rechargeable via USB. The battery also powers a LED flashlight, for when things get murky at the mask's maximum depth of 40 meters.
If you're a diving enthusiastic and you've been waiting for a high-tech scuba mask, you can stop holding your breath.