Innovation and invention has already brought us an incredible increase in ocean safety for the cruising sailor over the last few years with EPIRBs, PLBs and generally better mousetraps in many areas. Now a final year student has been putting his mind to work on how to stop overboard crew from dying of hypothermia before help arrives.
Hydro - the goal is to keep the vital parts of the body warm
Irish student Kieran Normoyle has come up with a better inflatable life jacket design that protects against shock and hypothermia from freezing temperatures.
It's early days yet, but according to technology magazine Gizmodo, his creation, known as Hydros, is actually more of a life jacket system made up of three different components.
At its core is a t-shirt featuring manually activated gel heat packs over the heart, carotid arteries, jugular veins, and other vital areas that help keep the wearer's blood warm as it's pumped towards the brain.
Hydro's suit covers these areas with heat packs - the jacket goes over the top
The heat packs can maintain a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit for up to eight hours, helping to fend off the effects of hypothermia.
Further protecting the wearer against frigid ocean temperatures is a waterproof jacket that works like a wet suit to trap body heat and provide extra insulation.
And finally the Hydros of course includes a zip-up inflatable life vest with an innovative offset design that serves to keep the wearer face up—and can even automatically flip someone over to help prevent secondary drowning where liquid in the lungs can be fatal.
The catch, of course, is that the Hyrdos seems better suited to disaster situations where crew have enough time to properly put the life jacket system on. For cruising sailors this could without a doubt help save lives in the event of a disaster.
The system is one of the finalists in the http://www.gizmag.com/!Gizmag James Dyson Award for 2013.
Watch the video he has made, which will show more about how the three systems work together, here: