DEMA show 2010: Coverage


Day 1 booth visits.

Day 2 booth visits. More visits with suppliers and discussions about new products.

Day 2 Wetpixel/DivePhotoGuide Cocktail Party. Let’s get this party started.

Day 2 Special Report on the KISS GEM Rebreather

Day 3 booth visits and anti-shark finning protest

Day 4 booth visits

Slideshow of people and places at DEMA

DEMA 2010 Wrap-up

Special Report on the Kiss GEM semi-closed rebreather

By Nobert Wu

KISS Rebreathers showed off their new diving system, the KISS GEM.

I have heard rumors about this new unit for months. It takes me a while to wrap my head around things like this. What I can say is that the unit seems ideal for underwater photographers who want to extend their bottom time without having to deal with the hassle and time commitment of closed-circuit rebreathers (CCRs). It is so simple, it is revolutionary.

I have used semi-closed and closed-circuit rebreathers. Semi-closed rebreathers just did not make sense, and closed-circuit rebreathers took hours before and after every dive to set up and maintain.

The GEM solves the problem of complexity. Setup is very simple – a canister that is about 2 feet high and 9 inches in diameter attaches to your nitrox tank, and two air hoses extend off the top of the cylinder, forming a loop. KISS recommends that you dive with a nitrox tank filled to a 36% mix. This limits you to 110 feet and standard nitrox tables – so you can use a standard nitrox diving computer. You attach your usual first stage and hoses to your usual diving rig – an inflator hose on your BC (KISS supplies wings along with the GEM, but you can use your existing BC); an octopus, a pressure gauge; and another hose goes to a second stage regulator in the loop.

The container holds a CO2 scrubber cartridge that costs about $30. It is good for up to five hours in tropical waters, and 3 hours in cooler temperate waters. This is one of the best features of the GEM – there are no scrubber particles to have to work and struggle with. You just open up the GEM canister and insert the cartridge. You attach your first stage and your usual hoses. You are done and ready to dive!

While diving, you breathe in just as you would when scuba diving. The breathing is on-demand and there is no difficulty in breathing as you have when descending with CCRs. One-third of your exhaust is vented out, and two-thirds is cycled through the CO2 scrubber. Your nitrox tank therefore lasts 3 times longer than normal when using the GEM system.

KISS includes one of their oxygen sensors with the unit, so you can monitor your PO2 level at all times. From what I understand, because all breathing is on-demand from the nitrox tank, you will always have a sufficient supply of oxygen, even when working at the surface. Most fatalities using CCRs have occurred at the surface or while ascending, when fatally low O2 levels can develop quickly. The GEM appears to have this problem solved.

The price at DEMA is CDM $2700. Obviously, anyone wanting to use this new GEM will need to undergo training in the use of it, but it seems like a perfect solution for any diver who wants or needs to spend more time underwater.