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This article was published on December 10, 2010

    “Oscillating Flow Propulsion Device” aka Swimming in the Future

    “Oscillating Flow Propulsion Device” aka Swimming in the Future
    Courtney Boyd Myers
    Story by

    Courtney Boyd Myers

    Courtney Boyd Myers is the founder of audience.io, a transatlantic company designed to help New York and London based technology startups gr Courtney Boyd Myers is the founder of audience.io, a transatlantic company designed to help New York and London based technology startups grow internationally. Previously, she was the Features Editor and East Coast Editor of TNW covering New York City startups and digital innovation. She loves magnets + reading on a Kindle. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter @CBM and .

    The PowerSwim Program at DARPA is developing highly efficient, human-­powered swimming devices for use by combat and reconnaissance swimmers. The technology uses the same oscillating foil approach that is exhibited by many fish and aquatic birds.

    The “human-powered swimming device” is capable of making swimmers move 150% faster than normal with the same amount of effort. It was designed by DARPA to help Navy SEALs reach their destinations quickly without the use of a submarine or a motor propeller. In the history of mankind it represents the largest increase in human swimming efficiency in terms of propulsion through water.

    Powerswim looks like something Q would have built for James Bond has he rescued girls and secret documents from a sinking submarine. But Powerswim was actually developed by Jay Lowell, a program manager at the Defense Science Program at DARPA who admits that it looks pretty dorky.

    Watch the video on it here: