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University researchers develop state-of-the-art diving safety equipment

An investment of € 200,000 from the Maltese Council for Science and Technology (MCST) was crucial for the creation of a collaborative project between scientists from the Department of Physics (including members of the Electromagnetism group) and the Institute of Space Science and Astronomy (ISSA) at the University of Malta, the Hyperbaric Unit at Mater Dei Hospital and private industry.

This collaboration resulted in the development of The Personal Decompression Monitor (PerDeMon), a state-of-the-art device carrying a specialized sensor that is attached to the diver to provide real-time data, which can be used to tailor the decompression program. to the individual diver to maximize safety.

The Minister for Equality, Research and Innovation, Owen Bonnici, visited the laboratories of the University of Malta, where work on this research project is taking place. Dr Bonnici met the team of researchers working on this project, led by Dr Joseph Caruana, (Department of Physics and Institute of Space Sciences and Astronomy) who showed him the latest developments of their PerDeMon project, explaining how they succeeded in finding an innovative way to link measurable physiological data and inert gas load, thus making the decompression process much safer for divers.

Minister Bonnici congratulated the researchers on their great achievements and said that “the government is committed to maintaining such projects, investing in the future and creating new solutions that can eventually be commercialized. Such collaborations are crucial for local research and innovation and should be encouraged and encouraged. “

Nowadays, divers keep track of time spent at given depths through a dive computer, which uses an algorithm to calculate an ascent schedule, prescribing stops at given depths to allow inert gases to slowly exit the water. solution. The specific program depends on the particular dive profile, and the process is modeled within a generalized theoretical framework that is not specific to the diver. This device will make the decompression process more personalized and therefore adapted to the particular physiological needs of the diver at that time.

The device will be extensively tested at all stages of development, with final testing envisioned in live dives, where a prototype will be tested and validated in tandem with a commercial decompression computer.