Diving deep underwater while holding your breath can be risky. Do you realize that the current freediving world record holder, the Spaniard Aleix Segura, have you been underwater for 24 minutes and 3 seconds just holding your breath? Breathing and relaxation techniques are the basis of such feats, but it is better to train with a little technology too.
This is why many freedivers wear a dive computer on their wrist. Oxama has another approach, however: it is a freediving computer that is worn on the face, and according to its developer (the Milanese startup of the same name), it offers several advantages. One of all? Talk to the wearer.
Oxama, mask that accompanies freediving
Oxama is, in essence, a soft silicone mask that is fixed to the user's face by means of two elastic bands for the head. Under the mask you can wear goggles, and above a diving mask.
But the key is inside: the device contains two removable electronic modules, located at the height of each of the wearer's cheeks.
One such unit incorporates sensors that track variables such as depth, water temperature, elapsed free dive time, ascent / descent rate and acceleration. And so far: these are parameters also detected by most conventional wrist apnea computers.
That said, Oxama also measures the user's heart rate and blood oxygen level (via an optical sensor placed on the skin) along with the angle of the head - this is useful for competitive freedivers who swim downwards.
A computer that talks to you underwater
All this data is transmitted to the wearer via the other module, which incorporates a bone conduction transducer. This unit emits synthetic vocal audio in the form of vibrations that travel through the cheekbones and into the inner ear, where they are heard as sound. Even while in apnea.
Consequently, the user does not have to continuously hold a computer worn on the wrist to read its display. Fewer distractions, more focus.
Could the freediving companion app be missing?
Using the supplied iOS / Android app, the Oxama sound module can be set to one of four modes. silent, in which he records all the data but speaks only at the beginning and at the end of the apnea dive. Alert, in which it speaks to the user only if certain predetermined thresholds are exceeded. Chatty, in which both warnings and other pre-selected parameters are given once every 15 seconds. Mute, where it records data but says nothing.
Like other dive computers, all data is saved in a user's dive log.
If inside you there is a little Enzo Maiorca, Oxama is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. Should it reach production, it would cost € 499 (about US $ 580) in pre-order: the retail price after launch will instead be € 999 ($ 1.160).