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Assisting Paraplegics while SCUBA Diving

Kylie Halbert, Kevin Nicholas, Ebony Luster and Dominic Balistreri

Currently, there are no products on the market to help paraplegics SCUBA dive on their own. While in the water, disabled divers rely solely on their arms and core control to keep their body in its desired orientation, forcing them to work harder and use oxygen more quickly than divers with full mobility. This results in reduced dive time. In addition, there are unique dangers to paralyzed SCUBA divers, including injuries to their extremities (of which they are often unaware) and visibility issues. What’s more, paraplegics need help getting in and out of their wetsuit.  Our goal was to design a product that helps paraplegics keep their diving orientation, allows them to dress themselves and keeps their legs from dragging. 

 Our design consists of a custom wetsuit that includes an adjustable float, added zippers and a sewn section that joins the legs together in the center. The adjustable float allows the diver to adjust their body position in the water. The added leg zippers help the diver dress independently while joining the legs together helps the diver control their legs as one unit. This product will allow divers with paralysis to enjoy all the freedom SCUBA diving has to offer.

Team Members (L to R):
Kylie Halbert, Kevin Nicholas, Ebony Luster and Dominic Balistreri
Michael Devine, Ph.D. and Shayne McConomy, Ph.D.
FAMU-FSU Engineering