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Developing an Improved High Level 2nd Stage Regulator for Scuba Divers

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - P200 (Developing an Improved High Level 2nd Stage Regulator for Scuba Divers)

Reporting period: 2019-08-01 to 2019-11-30

There is an increased demand in scuba- diving in the world, explained by several market dynamics such as: increasing popularity of water sports, growth in disposable income & expenditure in recreational activities in developing countries (e.g. Asia), growing trend of professional diving for underwater investigation & recording and growth of oil & gas activities requiring submarine services.

Scuba diving equipment business is a very specific business in the sense that:
- Any incident occurring in key scuba diving material is lethal for the diver
- Many situations that are manageable in the common world become critical under sea
- Scuba diving is done in very diverse environments, while the manufacturer ignores in which environments the equipment will be used (e.g. depth, salty vs. natural, natural vs. artificial …)

Scuba divers first need a 1st stage regulator to reduce high-pressure air from the divers´ tank to ambient breathing pressure. Then, divers need a 2nd stage regulator that can balance and adjust pressure, allowing them to maintain the same normal breathing effort at growing depths. Such solution should be reliable, affordable, and durable and operate at high rates usage in all conditions.

Current 2nd stage balanceable and adjustable regulators have two drawbacks: (i) they are delicate devices which are exposed to debris and salt and can therefore lack of reliability and (ii) they are costly as they have high acquisition and maintenance costs.

Our innovation tackles these two issues for 2nd stage balanceable and adjustable regulators
Since the beginning of the project, we have been working on technical, commercial and financial aspects.

On the technical side, we have designed a roadmap for new component integration and finalization of scale up, while also developing an internal project schedule. We then defined a testing and validation protocol for the performance of the device. Particularly, we analysed whether it is more economic to rent or purchase a necessary testing machine. We defined a project execution calendar for Phase 2, determining timelines, risks and mitigation strategies. We then drew a bill of material required for our project, before conducting a failure mode and effects analysis to analyse potential areas of concerns during manufacturing.
In parallel, we have been successfully testing our prototype in basic testing.

On the commercial side, we realized a market analysis on 2nd stage regulators and refined our analysis on the drivers for commercial exploitation. Then, we realized an in-depth freedom to operate analysis and drew a strategy for knowledge protection.

On the financial side, we reassessed the market, defined the investment required for the project and updated our business plan.
In the current state of the art 2nd stage regulator, the water and debris enter the Balancing Chamber, adding to friction over time and deteriorating the O-Ring. This results in irregular air delivery over time and the need for frequent maintenance.

Thanks to our innovative solution, we will improve the reliability of 2nd stage regulators, with a better and more comfortable breathing system. At the same time, our solution is cheaper in terms of acquisition and maintenance costs.

In a first time, we expect to make impact on two specific recreational segments: (i) the “dive masters” (those who dive beyond 60 meters) and (ii) the specific recreational divers (cave divers, arqueological, tech & trimix).
In a second time, we will aim to use this innovation to serve certain segments of the professional diving market (e.g. rescue, oil & gas diving ,…)
Finally, we will explore sectors and activities where breathing is a key (e.g. health, rescue,..)