Cathal Redmond, a 26-year-old University of Limerick student, has won the 2015 Irish James Dyson award for his underwater breathing invention.
His device, called the “Express Dive,” allows divers to breathe underwater for up to two minutes. When their air runs out, they simply resurface and refill the apparatus. As opposed to traditional snorkels, Express Dive gives divers access to greater depths, but unlike traditional scuba diving equipment, which allow for similar feats, Redmond’s device costs roughly $500, as opposed to figures as high as $4,000. The prototype for which Redmond won is built of a compact air tank, an air regulator, and a compressor combination made of high-density foam, aluminum, and silicone.
Speaking with the Irish Times, Redmond discussed his inspiration for the project: “It was when I was on holiday in Greece on a boat excursion when I saw a shiny object on the seabed that I recognized my curiosity for a method of increasing the amount of time spent underwater without carrying heavy equipment,” he said. “I wanted to be able to go a little further than I could with just my lungs, but without the rigor and preparation required for scuba.”
An avid swimmer with an interest in adventure sports and music, Redmond received €2,500 from the James Dyson Foundation, named for the creator of Dyson vacuums, and will proceed to the international stage of the competition along with 600 students from 20 countries. The grand prize is €37,500. ♦