PowerSwimming In The Open Water

Courtesy of DARPAtv.

Years ago, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military, sponsored its PowerSwim Program with the aim to create highly efficient, human-­powered swimming devices for use by combat and reconnaissance swimmers.

This program explores a new concept in swimming propulsion that uses the same oscillating foil approach to swimming that is exhibited by many fish and aquatic birds. This propulsion approach is more than 80% efficient in conversion of human motions to forward propulsion in the water.

DARPA announced that this dramatic improvement in swimming efficiency enables subsurface swimmers to move up to two times faster than is currently possible, thus improving swimmer performance, safety, and range.

For more information and historical information, read Erik Sofge’s paper on the PowerSwim here.