We humans are strange species; we like to do what other animals are capable of, we want to fly and we want to swim. Why is that? It is because these acts somehow encompass the idea of freedom for us. Putting the philosophy on hold, an Aerospace engineer Ron Smith has come up with an invention that will allow you to swim like a dolphin and it is known as DOL-Fin and makes use of a rigid, wide hydrofoil-kind fin.
There are, in fact, quite a number of models of DOL-Fin (Dynamic Oscillating Lateral – Fin) each designed for a specific task that ranges from free diving to recreational scuba diving and also on the level of performance that is required. The fins are tethered to the feet by making use of straps that are located at the foot platform or by the use of Shimano cycling shoes.
The fin is connected to the feet by making use of a nylon/elastomer composite suspension frame, which renders the fin free to be able to either pitch up or down similar to how a dolphin changes the pitch of its flukes. The fin is made from aluminium, which is rigid while some models also support the swept-back flexible rubber tips.
As per company claim, The precise working principle of the DOL-fin is, quite complex but a simplistic theory behind this is that the rigidity of the fin and the foot attachment assembly help to minimize the energy that goes to waste. The fin’s ability to pitch down and up also diminishes the possibility of stalling out. The wide surface area provides increased effective surface area; add to it the hydrofoil design and you get a more hydrodynamic body.
Smith has been working with Orca Mk2 model; managing the finishing touches. This particular model is aimed at competitive free diving. According to Ron; ‘The DOL-Fin Orca Mk-2 offers competition level monofin performance, with recreational levels of comfort. It is made from incompressible materials (no foam), so the fin’s buoyancy and swimming characteristics do not change with depth. It has adjustable foot straps that easily allow it to adapt between warm and cold water diving, eliminating the need for multiple monofins for different conditions. It has a modular design that is lightweight and easily packed into standard luggage for traveling.’
This model will be sold in about six weeks with a price tag of $1,200.