Ordinarily, if scuba divers want to talk to one another underwater, they have to wear special full-face masks that leave their mouths unobstructed by the regulator. Such masks are pricey and a bit cumbersome, however, so they’re usually only used by professional divers. Today, however, Casio announced the development of a new type of underwater voice communications device that works with plain old “eyes-and-nose-only” dive masks.

Known as Logosease, the compact 3.8-ounce (108-gram) transceiver attaches to the mask’s retaining straps, resting against the side of the diver’s head. Using bone conduction (the vibrations carried through the wearer’s skull, in other words), its microphone is then able to pick up what the diver is saying.

Needless to say, their words are going to be a bit garbled, what with their having a regulator in their mouth, and a blocked nose. The transceiver incorporates “digital speech conversion technology,” however, that is said to make difficult-to-voice consonant sounds – such as n, m, b and p – easier to understand.

Like existing full-face-mask-based systems, the device transmits the user’s speech via ultrasound. Those ultrasound waves are picked up by Logosease transceivers worn by other divers, and played back as audible speech via each unit’s integrated bone conduction-based speaker. Users can switch between reception and transmission modes simply by tapping the device.

The system reportedly allows divers to communicate within visual range – a distance that could vary wildly, depending on water conditions. The unit itself is watertight to a depth of 180 feet (55 meters), which should be plenty for most recreational divers.

A prototype will be unveiled in Las Vegas at the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association Show, which starts tomorrow. There is no word yet on the availability or pricing of a commercial version.

Source: Casio