ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Plastics are taking iPads to a whole new depth.
Using polycarbonate, polyether polyurethane and other materials, the creators behind iDive Inc. have developed a housing that not only protects tablet computers under water, but also provides a pressurized interior that allows researchers to actually use those tablets at depths of at least 330 feet, where water pressure is about 160 pounds per square inch.
“We don't know the limit, said Jim Peña, president of Inova Design Inc. of San Diego. “Theoretically, we could pressure-balance the inside with the outside for use at any depth.”
That capability isn't just the latest fad to keep up to date on your social media accounts. Instead, creator Michael Berumen, an associate professor of marine science at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, developed the iDive so researchers could keep better records during surveys of fish, reefs and other underwater life.
In the past, researchers had to use special paper and a pencil during dives to record their counts, then feed each of those entries into a computer once they were back on land. That not only added tedious extra time to the research at hand, it was also the most common place for mistakes to occur, Berumen noted on iDive's website.
After coming up with the concept, Berumen and Peña connected initially at the 2012 Diving Equipment & Marketing Association trade show in Las Vegas.