Development is well underway on the Scubus S, a diving mask that integrates a flashlight, a video camera, a heads-up display and a diver-to-diver communication system into its waterproof housing. It's designed to make diving safer, as well as more fun.
Soon to go to the crowdfunding stage, the Scubus S integrates a bunch of basic capture and display technologies while putting an underwater spin on communications.
For starters, there's an HD actioncam built in, capable of recording 1080p at 30 fps, or 720p at 60 fps. The lens offers a 135-degree angle of view (not as wide as the 170-degree GoPro view you're probably familiar with) and still photos are taken at 12 megapixel resolution. Internal storage is 16 GB.
Beside the camera, there's an LED flashlight, which could come in very handy at the Scubus' maximum 40 meter (130 ft) depth.
Poking out into view of your right eye is the heads-up display, which puts a bunch of digital information in view at all times. This includes the time, how long you've been underwater, a depthometer and the current water temperature, as well as information about whether the camera is recording.
There's also a chat feature to allow communication between divers. As Bluetooth and other wireless technologies simply don't work underwater, Scubus has chosen to use underwater acoustic wave propagation to get messages through.
Acoustic wave communication has proven effective in submarine communications, but it's limited in a small device such as this – the maximum range will be around 100 meters (328 ft) and data rates are quite slow. So instead of being able to communicate via voice audio, or text messaging, you'll just be able to select from around 20 pre-programmed messages such as "Emergency, help me now!" or "Take picture of me" or, presumably, "sure is wet down here."
A wrist-worn controller gives you access to the Scubus chat menus and other functions, but it's unclear how this controller communicates with the device itself.
The Scubus S doesn't replace the wrist-worn dive computer like Oceanic's Datamask HUD, which communicates with your air system and works as far as 100 meters (328 ft) under. The Scubus seems more tilted toward the recreational diving market than the Datamask.
Hopefully that means it'll come in cheaper than the Datamask's US$1000 price tag. No pricing for the mask is available yet – Scubus team member Noah Smith tells us there will be some options, and that more information will be available when the Scubus S Indiegogo campaign launches on November 10.
Scubus is positioning the S as "the world's first augmented reality diving mask" – we're not sure if a simple HUD qualifies as augmented reality, or whether given the Datamask's years in the market it qualifies as a world first. But it does indeed look like a handy and fun gadget if it comes in at the right price.