The Triton 'Artificial Gills' Indiegogo Campaign

27 March 2016

Indiegogo:

A state-of-the-art oxygen respirator, that allows you to breathe underwater up to 45 minutes and at a maximum depth of 15ft by utilizing our ‘artificial gills’ technology. Swim among tropical fish, marvel at exotic coral and experience the serene beauty of marine life − without having to come up for air. Welcome to Triton.

This cannot be anything but a scam. I refuse to believe it. They are saying they are filtering dissolved oxygen from the water. The problem is, there isn’t that much oxygen available in water and the human body needs a lot of it. Even assuming that water filtration at that size is feasible, you would have to pump hundreds of litres of water every minute to not drown. I’m sure there are a thousand other reasons why this proposition is ridiculous too. This Reddit thread has many more rebuttals to read at leisure.

It’s a farfetched claim and not backed up by any evidence. The campaign page includes some photos of the ‘prototype’ and a video. The video shows the product but offers no proof of any of their underwater breathing claims. The video footage never shows the product actually in use by a person for more than 30 seconds.

Most humans can stay underwater for 30 seconds without needing to breath; there is no attempt to show that the device is what is allowing the diver to stay submerged. When I used to swim competitively, I could stay swimming underwater for almost two minutes without breathing. Trained free divers can do many more minutes.

If I had really invented a product that let people breathe freely underwater for 45 minutes, I would prove it by recording a video of someone staying underwater for a prolonged period, at least longer than the world record set by un-aided humans. In some shots from Titron, the diver seems too buoyant — forcibly pushing himself to stay underwater. To me, that suggests the guy merely gulped a lot of air into his lungs moments before the camera started rolling.

Also, note that Indiegogo has no verification process whatsoever for its campaigns. No crowdfunding site has a watertight approval process, but at least Kickstarter requires some basic accountability checks before the fundraising goes public. Reality check: this thing is on crowdfunding. A truly legitimate product of this nature would not need the Internet for investment. Any millionaire investor or private company, probably the Army, would fund a thing like this in seconds, if it was real.

I would actively bet $299 that this thing is fake. And yet, somehow, the Titron campaign has accrued $700,000 in pledges so far with a month still to go. It has already seen mass media recognition from over 30 well-known media outlets. Sigh, signed the internet.