A design student at Loughborough University in the UK has created an innovative underwater jetpack made entirely of 3D printed materials.
Archie O'Brien began building the CUDA underwater jetpack as part of a student project. The jetpack was designed a year ago and could go on sale as soon as 2019.
The jetpack can propel users at speeds of up to 8 miles per hour, but users can adjust it manually or even turn on its cruise control mode.
O'Brien worked with 3D printing company 3D Hubs to build CUDA, which contains approximately 45 3D printed parts. The jetpack can be assembled in less than 10 minutes under water.
Even the device's impeller (a rotating mechanism that powers the centrifugal pump) was created via 3D printing. It was further reinforced with carbon fiber, which gives it the needed extreme stiffness. All of the parts were coated with epoxy resin, with silicone seals added on the battery doors so that water won't leak in.
O'Brien originally wanted to shrink down a jet ski engine into a jetpack, but later developed a custom, compact propulsion system.
"With its own patented propulsion system, the CUDA is the fastest underwater jetpack in the world, whilst remaining easily portable between dive sites," noted Loughborough Design School.
CUDA operates similar to a jet ski -- it sucks in water and shoots it out through a rear funnel at higher speeds. Users operate a hand held trigger system to control the speed. A detachable lithium ion battery pack is built into the device, allowing for continuous use.
Although no prices were indicated yet, CUDA promises to be cheaper than traditional underwater propulsion technology, which can cost as much as $17,000.
O'Brien also believes that the CUDA could be used in search-and-rescue efforts in the future.
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