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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:38 pm 
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Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
Some clever Aussies had invented a device which attaches to the inflation cylinder on a life jacket, which creates a hybrid - an auto-inflatable that only inflates automatically when 1 metre underwater, and doesn't go off in a wet environment like a Hobie Island.

Sounds like the best of both worlds - unobtrusive in normal use, retains the ripcord for manual inflation, yet has the ability to auto-inflate if the user is unconscious, and can be retro-fitted to existing life jackets.

Here is what Ashley Morris, the manufacturer, has to say:-
Quote:
The inventor of the ebbs electronic life jacket David Ashard came to me with a concept.
About 2 years later my team at the Morris Group comprising of an Electronics company called Prichard Electronics invented a circuit that works on pressure,no easy feat I must say.
We tried so many different versions of the module but in the end we are marketing.
1.An electronics circuit that connects to a battery.
2.The battery is rechargeable lithium as in mobile phones.
3.The swim version can be set to go off instantly or in 10 seconds.
Please understand you can fall in, swim, in your existing inflatabe life jacket all day with the module attached,the electronics will only start counting when you go under 1 meter of water and if you are still under 1 meter of water in the 10 second period the unit will acctivate and bring you to the surface.
We have made it this way so we can sell the modules within months from now.
The next version consits of a light weight bladder that fits under a tee shirt or rash shirt, but this will take a year to get through tougth Australian Standards. This will enable the wearer to surf ...etc....
David is now trying to raise awarness and fundraising to get the ebbs to market.


I understand likely cost is to be around $100 each.
Here are some vids on the subject
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... 3NhjbrnYK0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... aALX1pKICQ

Sounds like something an innovative company like Hobie could be interested in, as it would be relevant to the whole range of Hobie products.... calling Matt?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:07 pm 
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We have only accepted the manual inflation version. We considered the automatic (when wet) versions for some time, but decided against them. Too many possibilities of getting wet while launching, capsizing, going through surf etc, when you don't want them to inflate. This one has some merit though... You would hope that after 10 seconds you could get back to the surface if you really didn't need the thing to go off, still, I can see situations when auto inflation could cause issue, as inflating while under a boat could cause the user to get trapped under the boat (I'm thinking catamaran).

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:43 pm 
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Remember that the trigger goes off a settable amount of time only after the device goes deeper than 1 metre, I would imagine that a crew would be quite OK while going about the business of righting after a capsize. In addition, I gather that the device can be removed or replaced as needed, offering maximum versatility.

I think I will get one...


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:51 am 
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Very interesting ...

I designed something similar years ago for use on underwater video/camera gear. Went as far as having some venture capitalist Co. due engineering/safety/feasability studies where the idea was squashed because usually you have your gear teathered to you and the last thing you want at depth is an unexpected/rapid change in (positive) boyancy but the idea had merit. I solved the issue but they weren't interested from a liability stand point.

Good to see a similar design put to use potentially saving lives. As a longtime ex-lifeguard and water safety instructor it irks me to no end seeing people out on water craft either without a PFD or wearing it incorrectly ... mostly do to a comfort issue. Integrating the the lift bladder into the shirt is brilliant

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:07 pm 
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Location: Cape Coral, FL
I wore my self inflating pfd throughout this years Everglade Challenge and it did not inflate in a wet environment. I was frequently washed by waves and rained on several times, but no issues. I never submerged the jacket but was happy with the performance.

j

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:18 pm 
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I am reminded of a highly amusing moment on a UK documentary when Welsh comedian Griff Rhys-jones, and two colleagues were standing in the rear cockpit of a fast water taxi when they were hit by a big wave. The look of astonishment on their faces when they emerged from the spray wearing hi-viz orange inflated collars was priceless!


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