#video Limerick graduate holding his breath for Dyson inventors award

UL graduate Cathal Redmond
UL graduate Cathal Redmond

PRODUCT designer and University of Limerick graduate Cathal Redmond has been named as one of just two Irish students to have reached the final of the James Dyson International Design Competition with his ‘Express Dive”’ underwater breathing system.

Cathal, who graduated with a BSc in Product Design and Technology from UL in August, won the 2015 Irish James Dyson award in September and has now been shortlisted into the International stage of the James Dyson Awards.

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Cathal’s design was selected as one of 20 finalists by Dyson engineers from more than 600 entries worldwide to help further develop his device.

The winner will be announced this Friday, November 6.

‘Express Dive’ allows divers to breathe underwater for up to two minutes. Once the air supply begins to run out, the user simply resurfaces and holds a button to refill the one-litre tank.It combines the technological advancements of scuba diving with the ease of a snorkel system, making the system more user friendly for novice users.

Express Dive is smaller, lighter, cheaper and easier to use than any scuba system on the market. A full scuba kit can cost in the region of €3,000, as opposed to an estimated €400 for the ‘Express Dive’.

Cathal’s inspiration for the invention came after a boating trip in Crete. He spotted a shimmering object at a depth of eight meters, and tried to swim down to investigate what the object was. After three failed attempts, he discovered the shimmer was just a sardine tin but he realised that overcoming shallow water would be possible in a new exciting way.

Cathal explained: “This lightweight device is perfect for shallow surface-to-surface diving, exactly the kind done every day by novice explorers using snorkels. My device fills the space between snorkeling and scuba. Scuba still exists for deeper diving, but my device makes the experience portable, refillable and more usable. The system comes equipped with a depth alarm and air shut-off to protect the learning diver from diving too deep, and a digital display of remaining air.”