The Platypus submarine concept is the work of l’idéothèque founder Francois-Alexandre Bertrand, and naval architect Philippe Roulin. The Platypus concept is a remarkable vehicle which can carry its riders both on the water and under the water. Part of the Platypus’ genius comes from the fact the technology is actually quite simple.
Basically the platypus consists of two pontoons, and in the center is smaller hull which is where the two riders sit. The section holding the riders is connected to the two pontoons via four arms which are mounted on pivots. When the arms are in a horizontal position the riders are held above water level, and the vehicle is used a little bit like a jet ski. However when the Platypus’ driver throw a switch, the four arms slowly rotate downwards, and as they do so they take the center section and the riders under the waves.
The two outer pontoons obviously stay at water level at all times, and there fore the Platypus can’t actually submerge completely like a normal submarine can. But the riders get to see all the sights while remaining in a relatively safe and comfortable environment.
The Platypus submarine is powered by two electric motors, one in each hull, and therefore it is very quiet even when moving. Perfect for exploring underwater environments without scaring away the sea life.
Obviously humans can’t breathe underwater, at least not yet anyway! So to make sure the Platypus’ riders aren’t left feeling more than a little bit breathless, the vessel is equipped with an integrated system which pumps fresh air from the surface down tubes, to mouthpieces for each rider. The air tubes are on retractable reels which allow the riders to leave the Platypus and travel short distances away from the vehicle.
Because of the relative simplicity of the Platypus concept, the semi-submersible is a lot easier to operate than other submarines, and it would also be a lot cheaper to build. Underwater tours are a growing trend in luxury resorts, and vehicles like the Platypus would make it even more so.
Aside from recreation and tourism, the designers also see uses for the Platypus in more specialised areas that could include underwater cleaning of both harbours and boats, underwater photography and diving and undersea rehabilitation for disabled persons.
Source: Francois-Alexandre Bertrand