Most of our reports focus on land-locked technology, since it’s a challenge for delicate digital systems to go skydiving or swimming. However, with new innovations showcased at this year’s DEMA show (a trade-only event for the scuba diving industry), underwater tablet use appears to be an exciting new reality.
The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology’s Red Sea Research Center has developed a special casing for the iPad, allowing it to be immersed—and used—100 feet underwater. It’s called iDive waterproof housing, and was initially developed as a way for scientists to record data while diving. A special skin allows the touchscreen to function underwater, while a plastic shell covers the rest of the tablet. A miniature CO2 canister maintains the system’s waterproofing.
The iPad can assist in data collection via notes, photo, and video. Though there may be no 3G underwater, we assume that will be the next step in order to send data back to shore seamlessly. And there’s a fun angle to it all, too: scuba divers are apparently stoked to play Angry Birds while waiting to decompress.
Moving to a different biosphere, a Buffalo, N.Y. schoolteacher is leading the way in iPad-integrated education. Jason McCabe, an environmental science teacher at St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School, “regularly incorporates technology into his classes, even asking his students to digitally design an environmentally friendly house as an annual final project.” Next year, every student will have an iPad to aid in both research and creative work.
Tablets are becoming mainstay technology for scuba divers and students, enhancing scientific research across the board. Do you work in science, whether underwater or in a classroom? How do you envision the integration of tablet technology?
Image from Underwater iPad video