The Maneuverable Personal Submarine Goes from Pedal-Power to Electric

Scubster Nemo 1 photo
Photo: Kickstarter
Scubster is the brainchild of a team of French diving enthusiasts who came with a new concept of a personal submarine. Instead of only going forward, it’s capable of climbing and sinking vertically, diving and rising, traveling backward, and rotating around its vertical axis. After three years of testing their prototype and winning the Innovation award for an underwater vehicle equipped scuba with increased maneuverability, they are now enhancing their craft.
The project started in 2009 and after two years of hard work, they managed to participate in the 11th International Submarine Race in Bethesda Naval Surface Warfare USA. In case you never heard of it, you’ll want to know it’s a human-powered submarine race that begun in 1989. The races are being held twice a year. As we mentioned, they managed to win the prize for innovation, which was enough to encourage their efforts to commercialize the watercraft.

According to its creators, the technological advantages include the craft’s optimized maneuverability thanks to two independently rotating propellers driven by two levers coupled to dives and bars. Apparently, Scubster is a submarine that can to all the movements with only tow drives.

Giving the fact the cockpit isn’t sealed, the pilot must be in scuba gear and clearly has to know what he’s doing. Until recently, taking this two-person submarine meant you’re both an experienced diver and capable of pedaling to create the power to move the sub. Now, since you’re also fighting the drag of pushing one’s legs through water, the team has come up with a solution to ease the ride.

This takes us to the second model of the Scubster, the Scubster Nemo. This enhanced model comes with proper e-assistance, as in they added electric motors to the contraption, as well as optional equipment as dive lights, video equipment, and surface navigation aides. The Suex submarine engines the new version comes with can move the 10-foot-long Nemo at 5 knots for one hour.

However, if they get the proper funds with their ongoing Kickstarter campaign, the team claims they will enhance the battery life to four hours. In terms of specs, we’re looking at a carbon-fiber-bodied craft that can dive to 60 meters (200 feet), which implies that only experienced divers should take it to the limit.

Now, you don’t have to take their word solely. In fact, if you want to get a taste of its features you should know Nemo is available for rent - support crew included - from the French port of Nice. With EUR750 ($825) you’ll get a half-day underwater joyride.

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