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MAX™ Optics for 20/20 Divers

This is not a currently shipping product -- the patented MAX optics will only be available for commercial and military divers, integrated as part of full-face masks and helmets made by other companies. Divers with 20/20 vision do not need to wear contact lenses to use this mask, as they do with MEGA Double-Dome masks. The laws of optics dictate the dimensions of the lens barrel -- but their cost and size makes this an impractical solution for recreational divers. The MAX multi-element optical package, sealed in pressure-proof lens barrels, is expected to be available in late 2009 and retail for about $1,500 + the cost for the full-face mask / helmet.

This is a photo of one of our proof-of-concept MAX masks, which provides a flawless 140-degree field-of-view. Each MAX proof-of-concept mask cost over $60,000, and allows those with 20/20 vision to use their eyes in the exact same manner as they do in air.

Right now you can enjoy an even greater 170-degree TRUE-size field-of-view with our MEGA Double-Dome masks. Or enjoy the situational awareness of 170-degrees but see things magnified through the FLAT front of our upcoming ZERO-d, available late 2008.

The MAX reverse binocular optical design is made with titanium-based lightweight, state-of-art, high index glass. MAX provides ultra-low volume, since the rear lens element is so close to your face. The patented MAX CoverLens™ both protects the front pressure dome and provides clear above-water vision in your central field-of-view.

Our remarkable razor-sharp optics were made possible by the same engineers who were key to fixing NASA's once-fuzzy Hubble Space Telescope. Our optical team considered and analyzed hundreds of lens geometries and glass-types to perfect the HydroOptix design.

Underwater, the MAX CoverLens (the front-most lens) is invisible! Because the CoverLens has no "+" or "-" optical power, the sterile saline solution trapped behind the CoverLens closely matches the refractive index of seawater.

To provide in-focus above water vision, the thin MAX CoverLens traps and shapes de-gassed saline solution. Objects in air appear farther away than they really are.

At HydroOptix, nothing is more important than diver safety. Designing two sealed-air chambers close to a diver's face, responsibly, requires a strong commitment to engineering. We decided upon a minimum of a 4X safety margin so we could sleep well.

This reverse-binocular optical package will be recommended to no deeper than 150 Meters. The front pressure dome was designed to not distort shape at 600 Meters, and while at 600 M to withstand the additional stress of possible impacts.
To ensure this robust strength and outstanding optical performance, we used an iterative design approach, back-and-forth between "Finite Element Analysis" (Nataran FEA) and Code-V optical software. Rather than calculating to withstand a momentary impact, per the dive industry's American National Standard Institute (ANSI) standard Z86.11-1985 "drop-ball" test, we used the peak-force generated by the Z86 test as a constant load, which is much greater stress vs. momentary impact. The CoverLens, on the ocean side of the pressure dome, would significantly reduce and spread impact forces, but FEA calculations were done without the CoverLens, which adds a further margin of safety to this design.

Ten years later, Optical Research Associates, a key contributor to fixing the once fuzzy Hubble Space Telscope, continues to present their work on this project to peer groups -- the optical challenges and solutions were greater than any of us predicted!

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