When Navy Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Dunaway surfaced from a dive off a barge at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek earlier this week, Petty Officer First Class Ben Coulson logged the time by clicking a red box on a ruggedized tablet computer.
Dunaway removed a large yellow dive computer from his wrist and synced it to Coulson's tablet. Information about his dive – including air and water temperature, his time underwater, depth and surface times – would later be transmitted to the Naval Safety Center's Dive/Jump Reporting System database.
While those actions may seem unremarkable for those accustomed to the myriad ways technology now streamlines mundane day-to-day duties, until now, military divers have relied on manually logging their dive data, a time-consuming process that's open to data-entry errors and sometimes left to the whims of the weather. "Every once in a while, you get that rare occasion where your paper blows away and that's your whole dive profile," Coulson said.
A prototype application now seeks to digitize diving, from start to finish. It's the brainchild of Master Chief Petty Officer Scott Brodeur, the senior dive advisor at Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, based at Little Creek. After more than two dozen years of diving and countless hours spent logging various data points about each one – then double and triple checking those records for accuracy – Brodeur approached the Office of Naval Research with the idea after sitting in on a technology solutions briefing.
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