Following a large amount of criticism and controversy over their questionable “artificial gill” technology, the creators of the Triton scuba mask have canceled their crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, refunded all of the campaign’s backers, and relaunched with additional information.
Just a few days after the original campaign went live on Indiegogo, it quickly came under fire for a number scientifically impossible claims. Specifically, the creators claimed that their artificial gill technology allows users to breathe underwater for 45 minutes, just by sucking water through a porous filter and extracting oxygen molecules from it.
As many commenters, journalists, and academics were quick to point out, it was extremely unlikely that a device of Triton’s size could filter enough water and extract enough breathable oxygen to keep a person alive underwater. Yet, despite the overwhelming evidence against the product’s validity, Triton CEO Saeed Khademi maintained that the mask wasn’t just a hoax, and that he was making a video to prove it.
We weren’t convinced. After conducting a veritable boatload of research, we were 99.9 percent sure the artificial gill technology was nothing more than high-octane snake oil. But as it turns out, Khademi and his co-conspirators weren’t totally full of crap — just partially.
Late last week, after scrubbing the $800,000 campaign, the Triton team launched a second, more honest campaign — complete with additional info on how it works, as well as an uncut 12-minute video of the mask being used in a pool. So in all fairness, it appears that the Triton scuba mask does indeed work — it just doesn’t work at all like the creators originally claimed.
According to the new campaign, the mask relies on a combination of filters and replaceable liquid oxygen cartridges. Unfortunately Triton’s founders are holding back any further details about the technology because they’re worried about intellectual property theft, but the new video does suggest that the technology actually works, which is reassuring.
The downside, however, is that if this new information is true, it means that Triton users will need to purchase special liquid oxygen cylinders in order to use the mask. The company says its working on developing refillable cartridges, but until that happens, users will need to purchase two new cartridges for each 45 minute use. Depending on the price of these cartridges, using Triton on a regular basis could be pretty expensive.