Sunday, February 01, 2009

PEDALING a MINISUB ACROSS the ATLANTIC


Ted Ciamillo (40), spent his last years designing and building a personal submarine of 2 tons, 1,2 m of wide, 5 m of long and a tail -clone of Lunocet- perfecting it in his private lake. In November/2009, he will try to navigate 3,700 km, from Florida (Barbados), until the coast of Green Cape (Africa), with alone the force of his foots and arms during 50 days. Pedaling semirecumbent, Ciamillo will move his arms simultaneously back and advance, activating the tails by means of pulleys. He will travel to 13 km/h, under the surface breathing with snorkel or scuba (bigger depths). Ciamillo, plans to pedal 2 m under the surface the whole day, resting at night. He will sleep in a tent placed above the sub. If the wind blows to favor he will arm a sailboat, while he sleeps. With bad time the submarine will remain under the surface. Some dangers exist: that his blood fills with nitrogen bubbles because of abrupt descents and ascents, that his tanks are left without air or, be unable to ascend to the surface to be restocked. Once a day a help-boat that will follow the sub at certain distance will restock the sub with batteries, videotapes, hard disks, etc. Ciamillo that called his enterprise : "Subhuman Project", had already designed in 1997 the Hydrospeeder, a motorized submarine vehicle that didn't develop the prospective speeds. Later with the marine biologist's help Frank Fish (W. Chester University), designed a submarine tail made of fiber of carbon (Lunocet), for divers, allowing their users to reach speeds of 13 km/h, double that achieved by Michael Phelps.

The body and structure of the minisub -with capacity for a single person- is made of stainless steel and policarbonate. It consists of a propulsion system made of aluminum and titanium and of a pressurized system, always full with water. The flotation is possible using PVC foam packed inside holders. It had also bladders of air that are filled or empty, according to the depth. A problem is how to remain cool, because the temperature of the water is 30 °C. For it, reflectant coats would be used that would avoid that the light of the sun hot the water contained in the sub. Ciamillo that performs an intense physical training, has extirpated his appendix preventively. Ciamillo is conscious that his trip will allow to explore the life of organisms that inhabit near the marine surface. For it he count with video cameras of high resolution with which he will study from whales until plankton. Of special interest are sea bioluminescent organisms. Edith "Edie" Widder of the Ocean Research and Conservation Association has developed a camera called Eye in the Sea the same one that will be place in the nose of the sub to watch creatures that ascend from the depths until the surface. Every certain time Ciamillo, will descend 29 m for 45 minutes, in search of bioluminescents creatures.

PROYECTO SUBHUMANO

Ted Ciamillo (40), ha pasado sus últimos años, construyendo un submarino personal de 2 toneladas, 1,2 m de ancho, 5 m de largo y una cola -calco del Lunocet- perfeccionándolo en su lago privado. En Noviembre/2009, intentará navegar 3,700 km, desde Florida (Barbados), hasta la costa de Cabo Verde (Africa), con solo la fuerza de sus piés y brazos durante 50 dias. Pedaleando semirecostado, Ciamillo moverá simultáneamente sus brazos hacia atrás y adelante, accionado la cola mediante poleas. Viajará a 13 km/h, debajo de la superficie respirando con snorkel o scuba (mayores profundidades). Ciamillo, planea pedalear 2 m debajo de la superficie todo el dia, descansando por la noche. Dormirá en una tienda encima del submarino. Si el viento sopla a favor armará una vela mientras duerme. Con mal tiempo el submarino permanecerá debajo de la superficie. Existen algunos peligros : que su sangre se llene de burbujas de nitrógeno a causa de descensos y ascensos bruscos, que sus tanques se queden sin aire o, sea incapaz de subir a la superficie para reaprovisionarse. Una vez al dia un bote-ayuda lo seguirá a cierta distancia para aprovisionarlo de baterías, videotapes, discos duros, etc. Ciamillo que denomina a su empresa “Proyecto Subhumano”, ya habia diseñado en 1997, el Hydrospeeder, un vehiculo motorizado submarino que no desarrolló las velocidades esperadas. Más tarde con la ayuda del biólogo marino Frank Fish (W. Chester University), diseñó una cola submarina de fibra de carbono (Lunocet), para buceadores permitiendo a sus usuarios alcanzar velocidades de 13 km/h, el doble de lo logrado por Michael Phelps.

El cuerpo y estructura del minisub -con capacidad para una sola persona- está hecho de acero inoxidable y policarbonato. Consta de un sistema de propulsión hecho de aluminio y titanio y de un sistema presurizado, siempre lleno de agua. La flotación es posible empleando espuma de PVC, empaquetada dentro de receptáculos. Consta de vejigas de aire que se llenan o vacian, según la profundidad. Un problema es mantenerse frio ya que la temperatura del agua es 30 °C. Para ello, se usarían capas reflectoras que evitarían que la luz del sol caliente el agua contenida en el sub. Ciamillo que ejercita un intenso entrenamiento fisico, se ha extirpado preventivamente el apéndice. Ciamillo es consciente que su viaje permitirá explorar la vida de organismos que habitan cerca de la superficie marina. Para ello cuenta con cámaras de video de alta resolución con las que estudiará desde ballenas hasta plankton. De especial interés son los organismos bioluminescentes. Edie Widder del Ocean Research and Conservation Association ha desarrollado una cámara llamada Eye in the Sea la misma que colocada en la nariz del sub captará criaturas que ascienden desde las profundidades hasta la superficie, solo por la noche. Cada cierto tiempo Ciamillo, descenderá 20 m por 45 minutos, en busqueda de criaturas bioluminescentes.

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