2 Sep 2019
In the coming weeks, IADC will publish fourteen nominations in the running to receive the Safety Award 2019 on its website and social media. The winner will be announced on 17 October 2019.
IADC is proud to announce that the fifth nomination is:
Boskalis has integrated real-time sonar imaging on diving helmets to increase sight in zero-visibility conditions
Diving for marine projects is not a risk-free activity. Divers work in hazardous situations subsea and one of the basics for safe diving is understanding where you are and where you need to go, especially in an emergency. Divers sometimes encounter zero visibility under water. By integrating real-time sonar imaging technology in existing diving helmets, Boskalis is creating a helmet that provides vision in zero-visibility conditions, access to images and task plans subsea. This will keep divers safer and be more efficient and cost effective.
To understand, just imagine Google glasses for diving helmets. By integrating a HUD (Heads Up Display) into a diving mask and linking this to a sonar imaging system (mounted on the diving helmet), divers will be able to work safely and efficiently in zero-visibility conditions. By providing a display to the divers, other information becomes available as well. For example real-time images of the online NAV screen, and drawings, dive plans and sketches at the worksite which otherwise would not be available on the subsea worksite.
The idea originated with the United States Navy, which has been investigating the technology. Some helmet suppliers are starting to provide options and Boskalis has taken the opportunity to be an innovator and early adopter by embracing this technology now. Technically speaking, the idea is feasible because it integrates existing technology and componentry into dive helmets.
Within Boskalis (and within the industry) diving incidents are in the top three risks and this innovation will improve safety. This innovative helmet is in the early engineering stages, as suppliers investigate technical restrictions on components available such as power requirements, data transfer and capture. Suppliers need to identify the best components on the market to integrate into the system (considering equipment cost, reliability, image quality and ease of integration. Once a design is complete, Boskalis plans to procure the components and integrate them into its existing helmet in order to test the equipment subsea. Extensive training will be needed. Development of a new product is an intensive process but well worth it as an integrated diving helmet will increase the divers’ efficiency and help complete jobs more quickly and safely.