Triton Underwater Breathing Gills, a crowdfunding campaign that promises to offer backers a special underwater oxygen mask, has raised over $840,000 despite industry and diving professionals claiming the project to be implausible and (if you don’t mind the pun) a bit fishy.
The project was launched on crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo just over two weeks ago, seeking $50,000 in funding, but the campaign has already raised close to a million dollars after selling pre-orders of the mask for just $299 per unit.
However, to many experts, the James Bond-esque project just doesn’t seem quite right. “In concept it sounds very good and it’s very exciting, [but] I would not encourage anyone pulling out a wallet,” said Divers Alert research director Neal Pollock to Tech Insider. “I think there’s very good reason to be skeptical.” And he’s not the only one.
“[T]heir battery system would have to be orders of magnitude more efficient than anything on the market,” added deep-sea ecologist Andrew David Thaler. “At which point you have to wonder why you’d wrap that up in a gimmicky set of gills rather than selling the battery technology. It’d be like cracking cold fusion, but only using it to power a novelty clown lamp.”
People have also pointed out the smaller red flags that pop up from the project. The company, which is listed as owned by Saeed Khademi, has no public phone number or office address listed on their website or any social media pages. The company has also refused to speak to journalists or reply to doubts made by diving professionals.
The project promises divers that by using the device, they will be able to remain submerged in water at up to 15 feet for 45 minutes, but even after industry professionals cast doubt on the authenticity of this claim, Khademi has only released videos showing divers using the device for up to a minute.
Khademi has only responded to a handful of backers who have actually donated money to the project, but has refused to answer the scientific doubts and questions pinned to him, instead claiming that they haven’t released the full data yet due to “patents” that are currently in the works.
“It is very unlikely they have a working device,” concluded Thaler, and many people, especially those in the diving industry, appear to agree with him.
Though the project has not yet been proven to be a scam, there has also been no proof that it actually works, and the risky nature of crowdfunding has demonstrated time–after–time that meeting the funding goal does not mean promised fulfillment of a product.
Charlie Nash is a frequent contributor to Breitbart Tech and former editor of the Squid Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington.