We’re in Las Vegas, bringing you all the news from the DEMA Show 2016. First up, we normally start our DEMA Show reports with tidbits and teasers from the “New Product Showcase.” However, the NPS has been downsized this year. It now consists of new product pods running down the main aisle of the show floor. Here is what we found of note.
New Product Pods:
- Last year’s “Silliest Product Award” just got sillier. When we wrote about the Voice in the Sea tube thingie, used to talk to your dive buddy by taking your regulator out of your mouth, speaking into the tube, and then replacing your reg without taking a breath and choking, we thought it would be phased out quickly. Not so. Forging ahead, they’ve released the new “narrate your GoPro video while diving” device. Called the “Narrator,” they’ve improved the look of the device but not the functionality. Now, while diving and photographing the undersea world, add another “remove reg, purge device, then talk about what you are videoing,” all without choking, spluttering, moving the camera around wildly, or shooting to the surface because you can’t breathe underwater and your reg has gone missing. Sorry, but our opinion hasn’t changed – what can possibly go wrong? Answer: everything.
- We’ll be giving you more information on the new, improved Dive Alert, “a specially designed, small, light-weight air horn that uses quick-connect / disconnect hose couplings to become an integrated part of your power inflator and buoyancy compensator.” All you need to do is press the red button affixed to your inflator hose, and a “piercingly loud sound” will erupt.
- We’re curious about the new ParaLenz, an “action camera dedicated to diving.” It affixes to your mask strap, allowing you to focus on diving, not fiddling around with your camera. Said to deliver “high-quality footage even from extreme depths,” we’re eager to see how it performs.
- A featured item for women, the Casco Cup and Case menstrual cup is touted as the perfect answer to long days on the boat when you are menstruating. A soft, silicone, easy to clean device, it’s the perfect travel companion and dive buddy when your flow arrives.
- The DryCase company, makers of the super handy, perfectly dry backpack we often take on trips to the water, now makes a Snow’s Cut™ cooler bag. It can go on your back or by your side as you make your way down to the beach. Holds 40 liters. We’ll tell you more as we find out more.
- Submersible Systems, those folks which make SpareAir have a mini scuba kit they call the Easy Dive Explorer. At first look here it looks like scuba for short shallow dive with a pony tank sized bottle. More on this soon.
- MF Key LLC is showing the world’s first JELLYFISH EMERGENCY KIT. Developed and manufactured in Switzerland. It includes Plastic gloves, Sea Acetum spray, PVC card and Sea Gel- cooling anti-inflammatory gel.
- OTS (Ocean Technology System) is showing a new lower cost full facemask, called the Spectrum that allows you to use your own regulator.
- ARTISAN & OCEAN was showing a nifty and tiny pocket multi-tool for your dive regulator.
- Darkwater Vision, is introducing an adapter, called the Hamerhead for a full facemask which allows divers to see clearly in dark waters. We will have more in this soon.
- This could be really big–Poseidon has developed a low power, solid-state oxygen sensor for use in closed-circuit oxygen rebreathers. More below.
- Ratio Computers, LLC, is showing a new tank air pressure transmitter with a coated lighting system that displays different pressures and an optional heads-up display.
- OMS displayed their new IQ light backpack, weighing 2.4 lbs.
More From the Show Floor:
- NO MATTER THE TASK — ZERO VISIBILITY = NO PROBLEM: Dark Water Vision introduced their new Hammerhead Vision system. Like the infrared cameras used by firefighters to see through smoke, the Hammerhead system allows divers to see through low-vis and turbid waters. It comes with attachments for most full-face masks in use today and includes an infrared lighting system made by Big Blue.
- How about a dive light with infinite battery life? SWES Technology has come up with a unique flashlight and strobe that uses the ocean as your battery. As long as you are in the water, your light stays on. Think about that science class in high school when the teachers showed you how to make a battery out of a lemon and you’ll get a better picture of how this battery is made. The dive light is a bit large, resembling an old HID dive light, but it’s very light, with vents to allow salt water to flow through the body and power the 340 lumen Cree X L2-U2 LED chip. SWES is dreaming big and talking about using the technology to go as far as building large electric boats, powered by the ocean they are crossing. The price of this light when released should be around $500 US.
- iBubble is an underwater drone. It is an underwater drone that can follow you during your dive. It uses sonar plus a computer vision technology to precisely make our shape underwater and follow you. It comes with a watch style controller to tell the unit to follow you from behind or in front, plus other modes. It will cost around $2500. Made by Notilo + the iBubble still a prototype. It will likely be sold to resorts and shops for rental.
- Paralenz claims to be the first underwater camera Water-resistance to 650 feet. It is very easy to use with gloves, with a snap switch to activate the recording or still photos and a ring switch to change modes. It has built in dive computer functionality so that it can use the internal depth sensor for autocorrecting white balance at each depth. It also uses wifi and/or Bluetooth and can transfer photos and dive information. It can display your dive profile with the photos and videos along the depth contours. It will sell for $599 and is shipping in March 2018.
- UK (Underwater Kinetics) has brought back the yoke/din holder which was a very popular feature on their dive hangers.Their popular Aqualite Pro 100 is a wide beam 1200 lumens light that now comes with a folding camera mounting bracket. It incorporates pivoting arm for better lighting control. At only $250 is a great accessory for your action cam. They have discontinued the push button Aqualite s20. The SL3 light at 425 lumens, is a simple, low-cost lite for under $60.They are shipping knives again after a long hold as well as there C4 and C8 light Canon Lights. The C8 rechargeable throws and amazing 2100 lumens. Compare this with old beloved HID lights which were rated at only 400 lumens. HID is now officially dead. Also, the battery packs for the Light Cannons are NiMh and not Lithium which can make air travel easier in the age of exploding battery fears.Fred told us a bit for dive light trivia. The Welch Allyn who made the 10 watts HID light and ballast used in many dive lights was originally designed for use in a proctoscope. They sold it to a copier light company and then LEDs came along and sales tank, so there went the HID line.
- Tovatec was showing their new Fusion 530 which received a Scuba Diving magazine “Testers Choice” award this year. The Fusion line are all price competitive, focus-able dive lights with dual battery capabilities. The 530 puts out 1000 lumen for only $149. They also have a new ICOM II light at 120 lumens for only $59.95. If that isn’t cheap enough, they also have the small 120 lumen Dash 50 light for $15.
- We saw an odd product from Coregleam Inc. They were pushing a light based communication system for military use. It is basically a typical full facemask communications system that uses an attached LED light system to transceive rather than radio or acoustic waves. The product had no name and the vendor was asking visitors to name it. We will be surprised to see this one make production.
- Bigblue dive lights was touting increased power at the same low price for their AL 1200 wp light at $159 (formerly 1100 lumens). They also have a line of lights with color LEDs and have a expanded their product line with a full set of cases (like Pelican cases). One more thing… they are offering a slim-line canister light for those are diving side-mount but also among the few people who still are using canister lights.
- Still at the top of the massive mountain of dive light brands is the one and only Light and Motion. To hint at the Winston Churchill quote, “Light and Motion was born great and has been getting better every year since.” Most divers know the stellar Sola dive and video line, but fewer know the “Stella Pro” the professional video lighting line. It is only a matter of time before this line wins a technical Oscar. RedBull media says “or our productions we needed lights that were not just reliable and had consistent output and color temperature, but we also needed them to be waterproof and reliable with the wear and tear of the extreme environments we were in. The power and flexibility of the Light & Motion lights gave us an amazing filmmaking tool. “The main take-away for the Stella Pro lights is that you have a dive-able cinema quality light that can be used on the surface on battery, or powered by the camera, the car or the wall socket. Many news agencies are adopting this line for all their on-scene reporting.Another reason Light and Motion is so loved and respected is there push for consumer standards. As they put it, “We grew tired of the exaggerated claims from many of the other brands in the industry.”The developed the FL-1 standard for lumen ratings and are now pushing for underwater light, beam angle ratings to be publish as “in-water.” To this end they have created the WeTestDiveLights.com website were you can find comparisons of specs for lights from dozens of brands.In the Sola line, they’ve added a new snap on dome port which will increase the in-water beam angle of any of the video lights in this line by 30 degrees. Our favorite Sola 1200 dive spot/flood light is now only $399. If you only want the spot, the Sola dive 800 is only $299.Their GOBE line is a fantastic, lower cost line of dive and video lights with replaceable heads, that also work great on the surface. Many divers miss out by not considering this line for dive lights. The price just dropped again for 2017–you can now get their 700 lumen spot (10 degree beam angle) for only $149; or the 500 lumen spot (60 degree angle) or photo for only $129.
- aquaSketch scrolling, waterproof notebooks, has added a new, more secure bungee system. They also have agency specific scrolls from NAUI, RAID, and IANTD and more to come. Plus, they now offer an eight-foot long blank scroll available for their system. We purchased one and will give you live dive testing soon.
- Infinite Scuba, our ScubaGadget Best of Show 2013 winner, is actively working on their third virtual dive site–Edmonds Underwater Park, a site near and dear to the Pacific Northwest Dive community. They just started offering the current games on the steam online game platform. Also, they showed us an incredible VR dive experience, using the Oculus Rift platform. My virtual dive was in Belize with Sylvia Earle. After the experience, we felt like we dived with a 30′ whale shark on SCUBA – amazing!
- The new Poseidon solid state O2 sensor is a small device that could be the big story of DEMA this year. We spent half an hour with science diver and lead tester for the Poseidon rebreather, HSU Diving Safety Officer Rich Kyle. First, Rich told us Poseidon, in the interest of safety, has decided to be very transparent with its studies on O2 sensors for CCR diving. Most CCR divers have heard of the controversy regarding reliability of current analog O2 sensors and the pitfalls of depending on the widely used three-sensor voting system. Rich’s studies of the mounds of data he has collected clearly indicates that sensors have failed much more often than was previously believed.Enter the new solid state O2 sensor: if this works as designed, it can be a breakthrough product which saves many more CCR divers’ lives. Current tests indicate this new sensor is extremely rugged, has low power requirements, not affected by water or even humidity, and is basically permanent–possibly lasting around 3300 hours. Testing so far has shown this sensor to be a giant leap forward in reliability and accuracy. Rich joked that the only downside is that we may have made redundant thousands of hours of R&D work on validating the “old” analog O2 sensors. Yes, this new sensor is on the order of ten times more expensive, but life-saving economics make it an easy choice.Poseidon is working on ways to adapt this for other rebreather manufacturers to use on their products.
Along with the solid state O2 sensor, Poseidon is releasing a powerful new dive computer, which contains a full Linux-based PC inside the device. It offers amazing flexibility and extendibility.
- Alleco products (partnering with Aqualung) is offering the first direct access tablet for underwater use. Unlike other solutions we’ve seen which use a set of buttons to operate the tablet, this is simply a full size Galaxy tablet in a waterproof case which you can directly control as if you were on the surface, even with thick gloves. Because of the high price ($3000.00), the product targets military, commercial and research projects.
- Up and coming dive agency RAID North America has brought on two women partners, to ensure that the needs of women are being addressed in this male dominated sport.
- The Cosmiq dive computer is truly a product that caters to the desires of the millennial generation. They offer their Cosmiq+ multi-function dive computer in many colors, and an integrated online platform. The online platform is part cloud based dive log (called Deepblu) and part social network. It gives you a “social space where you can interact with other divers, learn more about diving, share your dive story and explore the depths through the eyes of others.” The Cosmiq+, at only $299, is a bright OLED dive computer with features found only in products that are two to three times that price.
- The Vindicator, that tank valve knob that indicates green for on or red for off on your scuba tank, is still gaining more acceptance. They just received word that all Korean military tanks must include the Vindicator handle. Also, its passed the hurdles for European CE Norm standards.
- Fourth Element show us there new offerings which included the following, The Proteus II wetsuits in 3mm and 5mm offer Thermoflex linings throughout the suit to provide excellent comfort, easy donning and thermal protection.Many new colors for their Ocean Pro swimwear line made from ocean-found plastics. A new Big Bag to be later names which holds everything your need and is only 8lbs.
The also have a unique and stylish down jacket with heat-sealed seams. Unlike typical down jackets, this coat seals the down changes to prevent air passage through the seams.
- Ocean Research amazing Aria full face-snorkel mask is already improving. This mask is so popular it has already been knocked off by many Asian manufacturers. But snorkelerss should not be fooled. This mask which, is also sold by Head Sports as the Head Sea Vu Dry, is the original and has many features which set it above the knock-offs. These include a true no-fog design, and a three channel snorkel. This year, the mask will come in a size for children 10-12 years old and many new colors. It also has a convertible optical lens kit which can be used in the mask. Later you can add a strap to turn it into a pair of sport glasses for your top side water related activities.