Every so often something comes along in the dive industry that is a real game changer. The open circuit regulator, dive computer, and mass availability of digital underwater cameras and housings come to mind.
The iGills is such a product. It is the first truly multi-function device for diving. Make no mistake. This is the future. You can take something you already own (or buy a used iPhone 3GS, 4 or 4S) and add an app for free. Pay a small price for a “housing” and now you have a full function dive computer with air, gauge and nitrox modes, an 8mp camera, the ability to shoot HD video, and a backup flashlight that actually works. A dive log and a digital compass are stuffed in there too.
And now for the truly revolutionary and game changing deal:This product has the potential to evolve at an insane rate and develop features beyond your expectations with a simple app upgrade. I’m wondering how long it will be before some hacker has you playing angry birds on your safety stop.
While it may only look like a camera housing for your iPhone, it is so much more. Buried underthe dock where you attach the phone, there is a pressure sensor, temp sensor and the interface that allows you to communicate with your touch screen via buttons.
The real magic, however, is in the software and like all things made for iPhone, it is ridiculously easy to use. Set the phone to airplane mode (saves batteries). The actual phone part still doesn’t work underwater thank heavens! Put the phone in the housing facing the correct way and voila! iPhone turns on and you are ready to dive. I know this because I’ve dived it… in Kahului harbor.
In the instructions, it reads “not for commercial diving” so I figured why not? Good test, right? The bottom was muck and as soon as touched anything, it was black-out diving. I didn’t take many pics or video on the dive as I was a bit busy working, but the dive display is beautiful and easy to read and provides continuous information while you are shooting pics or video. In essence, it is like a heads-up display for photographers.
My review? If you own an iPhone and you dive you would be foolish not to own an iGills. If you don’t have an iPhone and you dive? I saw a 3GS on eBay for $199… Now if I can just get my brother at NASA to strip the guts out and make me a housing with a 100 meter depth rating…!
You can learn more about iGills on their website. Or you can skip all that and just go to Maui Dreams and get one. I did.
Aloha, Todd Winn