Triton, makers of controversial 'gills' system for breathing under water, relaunches on Indiegogo

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,084   +131
Staff member

Controversial campaigns on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo aren’t all that uncommon. Such is the case with Triton, an Indiegogo campaign that raised close to $900,000 before skeptics in the scientific and diving communities prompted the company to refund all of the money it had raised thus far.

The original campaign, which launched in March, showcased what the company described as the world’s first artificial gills re-breather. With the device, Triton promised users could stay under water for up to 45 minutes at a maximum depth of 15 feet.

The campaign description said it was able to achieve this feat through the use of a microporous hollow fiber that’s able to extract oxygen out of the water. A micro compressor takes in and stores the oxygen, allowing wearers to breathe naturally under water.

That may be a satisfactory explanation for most but experts weren’t buying it.

Dr. Neal Pollock, a hyperbaric medicine and environmental physiology research associate at Duke University, told GearJunkie that you’d have to both run a lot of water through the product and have a means to separate it. Pollock questioned what entices the oxygen to go through the filtration system and ultimately concluded their given explanation wasn’t compelling. In short, he said he doesn't believe they have a chance of fitting all of the necessary components into the small device.

In a recent update on Indiegogo, the team behind the controversial product said they were reluctant to reveal too many details about the device in order to protect their intellectual property. They did, however, concede that the device utilizes swappable “liquid oxygen” cylinders which, combined with the other components, lets a user breathe under water.

The admission was accompanied by another video on YouTube showing someone using the device under water for 12+ minutes. That’s not quite the promised 45 minutes but it does seem to illustrate that it works.

There’s still room for controversy, however, as the wearer in the new video sits somewhat stationary during the entire clip. As such, it seemingly wouldn’t be too difficult to run an air tube up his back and into the mouthpiece. I’m not saying that is what’s happening here but a stationary camera and a stationary wearer doesn’t seem like the best way to dispel controversy.

Nevertheless, Triton refunded all of the initial backers’ money and launched a new campaign. Armed with this new information, the company doesn’t seem to be having too hard a time attracting interest as the campaign has already raised more than a quarter of a million bucks (it was initially sleeking just $50,000 to get the product off the ground).

As GearJunkie points out, the product may very well indeed be cool but initially misleading backers is difficult to look past. Fortunately, Triton did the right thing and came clean with their product. Now it’ll be up to consumers to decide its fate.

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Posts: 79   +39
This is utter bull poo.

In others forums they did the calculations for said re-breather and the results were that it was necessary to circulate 240 liters of water per minute in order to obtain 8 liters of breathable air. And that's not even considering that pure oxygen would burn your lungs when inhaled.

Also, at 240 lpm they might as well advertise the thingie as a propulsor...

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,001   +6,775
Well said. I have used a standard rebreather successfully for hours at a time, but it certainly isn't this small and it a lot more complicated. Sorry, but it looks like a complete scam to me.


Posts: 3,836   +1,186
All there is left to say is that time will tell if it's either a scam or it's really possible to do it.

Is it possible they could put a small compressed tube inside the small breather to give enough air for those 12 minutes?


Posts: 6   +2
Interesting idea, but you can't survive underwater on pure oxygen as it is poisonous. That's why standard re-breathers are so complicated and bulky. The oxygen has to be carefully metered, and fed back into the air that the diver breathes. Too much or too little will result in death. I will watch this one closely.


Posts: 3,836   +1,186
Sceptical, but also genuinely curious. How do fish do it?

With their fish gills?? Not sure if you know but when fish are out of the water they can't actually breath air and die, it's quite different...
Of course, this is a blatant ridiculous scam debunked million times all over the web, but in case you did not see it yet, you can find the evidence for example here:

In brief, you would have to filter almost 40 liters of water per second to supply a moving human with sufficient oxygen by filtering the oxygen dissolved in water (there is 50 times less oxygen in 1 liter of water than in 1 liter of air). That the water flow of two big truck-mounted police water cannons.

Fish are cold-blooded, unlike mammals (humans including), and their metabolism does not use that much oxygen. A human needs 3.5ml of oxygen per minute for each kg of weight, or approximately 250ml at an average slim adult person of ~70kg. That's only for the metabolic consumption, but when breathing pure oxygen, you'll need to ventilate much more of it, because without sufficient ventilation you can't remove CO2 from lungs.

And as for the claim with liquid oxygen, that's even bigger nonsense, because at such a small volume you can't keep it liquid at -180°C for longer than a few minutes after filling the container.

There are also safety problems, too, although the toxicity is not a real issue at 45 minutes in 5m (15ft) depth.

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Posts: 3,836   +1,186
Who knows, they might have actually comed with something that... you know... happens when there is a breakthrough in science... just sayin. If it works awesome, if it doesn't well **** it, everyone gets their money back. Simple.
Sorry but no, there is no chance it could work even if they broke all known physical laws and won several Nobel Prizes. Whatever miraculous technology you use, you simply cannot filter more oxygen from water, than there is dissolved. Besides that there is not a single scientist, engineer, or technician in their team. There is one designer, one accountant, and one marketing expert. That's all.

And no, nobody will ever see their money back. The people who pay them do not understand that at Indiegogo and on other fundraising platforms, they do not pay for any products, they fund the "development" of the project. In the conditions of IGG it is clearly stated that the campaign owner receives and keeps all funds regardless whether he meets his goal or not. No refunds are possible once the campaign is closed (in 18 days). They can simply keep all the money and walk away without ever doing anything else that telling they are still working on it.
The scammers do not bother about any FTC and IRS, at all. They are two Arab brothers with an address in Sweden, and another Korean guy with a clearly faked address in South Korea. Indiegogo is just a service provider, who clearly states in their terms, they take no responsibility in the campaigns they host. Scams are very common on their platform, and numerous complaints about their practices were reported to authorities in the past, with zero impact. Those who spent money on their scam (and some sent thousands of dollars), will get nothing at all. FTC and IRS will not help them at all.


Posts: 3,836   +1,186
Ok then... keep calling them scammers on a forum, that will make the world a better place without a doubt... ether people buy into this or don't, simple as that. I hope this is not a scam, not because I've spent money in it but because it would be cool as hell.
Ah OK, so according to you damasking of fraud makes the world worse, while scamming people by promising them impossible inventions, makes the world better! Nice.

There is not even the slightest chance their apparatus could work. Yes, of course, it would be cool as hell, but it does not make it real.


Posts: 3,836   +1,186
Ah OK, so according to you damasking of fraud makes the world worse, while scamming people by promising them impossible inventions, makes the world better! Nice.

There is not even the slightest chance their apparatus could work. Yes, of course, it would be cool as hell, but it does not make it real.

You are just complaining on a forum, it has been said how much of a scam it is already, you are getting actually nowhere by continuing to say what you said already, or by posting something on a forum for all that matters. My standing is, if it works awesome.