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:-
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 subjecthttp://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... 3NhjbrnYK0http://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?