Like the happy swimmers in the Beatles' "Octopus's Garden," scuba divers equipped with an Integrated Diver Display Mask (IDDM) from Oceanic Worldwide can have fun and feel safe while the mask minds little details like bottom time, oxygen supply, and depth of dive.
Designed in a joint development project with the U.S. Navy, the IDDM contains a miniature LCD panel, multielement optics, a microprocessor, a depth transducer (a tiny SM5106 from Silicon Microstructures), a wireless cylinder pressure receiver, a diver-replaceable battery, and controlling software. Extreme miniaturization means that all of this onboard technology can be packed into a deceptively streamlined face mask that hums along, continually monitoring potentially lifesaving vital statistics, while divers go about their underwater business.
And a diver can access those vital stats at any time, hands free, by merely glancing downward and to the right. Unlike depth gauges, dive watches, pressure gauges, and wrist-worn displays, the IDDM display uses segmental LCD technology that provides readable displays even under very poor underwater visibility conditions.
Besides making a big splash with armed forces specialists, rescue divers, and scientists, the IDDM is perfect for recreational divers who tend to become so entranced with "the coral that lies beneath the waves" that they forget to check their vitals. And it promises to free handicapped recreational divers from reliance on dive buddies; now they too can shout and swim about, knowing they're happy and they're safe.