Blu3 Nemo, the ideal boat maintenance dive rig?
It’s understandable that Blu3 headlines its unique Nemo surface-supplied diving device with an attractive image shot in warm, shallow water. But while a mere 10 feet of hose strikes me as limited for even hookah-style sport diving — though probably easy, fun, and safe — it may work very well for untangling a lobster pot line wrapped in your prop or other underwater boat tasks. Especially since the floating part of Nemo is quite small and should easily follow a diver around.
In fact, the Nemo system only weighs 10 pounds and is about the size of a kitchen toaster until you inflate its flotation collar. Which is a far cry from the DIY hookah rig I put together last summer, and I also wouldn’t miss the jarring sound of the relatively huge air tool compressor I used. But you have to wonder how the heck the little self-contained Nemo can compress the air needed for about an hour underwater?
The technology breakthrough — see How Does Nemo Work at bottom of the product page — seems to be how the “Smart Reg” regulator “sends an electronic signal which triggers the compressor to pump air at exactly the time and speed that the diver is inhaling” and thus “NEMO pumps only the exact pressure, volume, and flow rate that the diver needs at their particular depth which means it uses just a fraction of the energy of any other underwater breathing system.”
Another sign that this surface-supplied diving (hookah) rig is different: The power for that hour of diving — approximate, as time depends on how hard you breath at what depth — is supplied by a 5 amp hour (72 Wh) lithium ion custom rechargeable battery about the size of a long novel.
Then again, if Blu3 was a pure startup I’d be concerned about Nemo’s ability to endure saltwater and rough boat use. So it was great to learn that behind Blu3 is Brownie’s Marine Group, a South Florida company that’s been working on advanced hookah systems for over 45 years.
Moreover — and this is the timely news that motivated my Nemo research — Brownies just announced that they’ve submitted their Blu3 Nemo technology to the DIY Hack-A-Vent Innovation Challenge just set up by the U.S. Department of Defense. Yes, the same efficient innovation that could make working under your boat easy might also be used for mass-produced 24/7 ventilators. Let’s hope.