The lunocet project was born during a National Geographic expedition to film Great White sharks off the coast of Adelaide, Australia. (January 1999)
The 2014 lunocet is a culmination of over a decade of R&D in biomimetic propulsion. The interest in creating a super efficient monofin started in 2002 at the end of my Hydrospeeder project which was a 300 lb electric diver propulsion vehicle with onboard scuba. I built 100 of the units from 1998 to 2002 and they appeared in the beginning of the Tomb Raider movie, “The Cradle of Life”, and were used in a National Geographic expedition to film Great White sharks off Adelaide, Australia. The Hydrospeeder was big, expensive, and difficult to own and use. The bang for the buck was just not there. The state of battery technology at the time had lead acid dry cells being the most practical choice. Even with 200 pounds of batteries, the unit had a top speed of only 6 mile per hour for 45 minutes. Although it was a pretty cool project, the notions which commanded practicality were reduced drag, reduced expense, improved dive time, and most of all speed and manueverablity.
The lunocet was born of a need for speed… underwater speed. It was also born of a need for freedom underwater… to shed the constraints of drag and to augment poor human swimming ability underwater. The lunocet is a device which models the millions of years of evolution in the dolphin tail by replicating the geometry, scale, and morphology dynamics of what is called the lunate tail propulsor (biologist Sir James Lighthill noted the crescent moon shape of caudal fins of fish and flukes of whales hence the term lunate). The lunocet is a biomimetic (mimicking biology) lunate tail propulsor which addresses with fine detail the secrets of efficiency and power of fast swimming dolphins.
The lunocet has evolved over the past decade with the 2014 model being the most refined biomimetic propulsor yet.