UBA: Beyond The Snorkel
UBA provides an amazing underwater experience with a deeper swim and complete freedom of movement.
Thank you for checking out the UBA project. We are so excited to be here on Kickstarter sharing our creative invention. We have been working on this product for quite some time now. It all started with a great fascination for sea life and how much fun some of the animals have while swimming. Based upon how the dolphin breathes and swims, we have designed the Underwater Breathing Apparatus (UBA) so humans can have just as much fun in the water!
This is why we are here on Kickstarter: to bring UBA to everyone. So we are asking for your generous support to allow us to finalize the design and get the UBA into production. To date, the team has been supported by a private investor, but all those funds have been used.
WHAT MAKES THE UBA SO UNIQUE?
FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT
The tubing design of the UBA is completely flexible and can move in any direction. The balanced float at the inlet side of the tube ensures that a reliable air source is available at all times. The unique combination of these two features allows the swimmer complete Freedom of Movement while underwater. This is a tremendous advantage over the conventional rigid snorkel design that restricts the swimmer’s position to only be facing down.
The UBA is designed with longer tubing and a specially designed valve system that allows a deeper underwater swim. This innovative valve design provides clean air to the swimmer while minimizing dead air in the intake breathing tube. This is very different than traditional snorkels with one valve or no valve systems with a much higher risk for inhaling dead air. The UBA allows the swimmer to tread well below the water’s surface for a longer period of time.
EASY WATER PURGING
Purging your UBA is much like purging a snorkel but much easier. There is no need to force the water all the way out of the inlet tubing. The innovative valve design provides an exhaust valve that is conveniently located in front of your mouth for an immediate and effortless purge. This provides the ability to quickly and efficiently purge your UBA so you can get on your way.
The UBA not only allows you to maintain a deeper swim but also provides the swimmer the option to dive as deep as they want without worrying about their inlet tube filling with water. The UBA’s innovative Super Dry valve closes immediately before going underwater and opens immediately when resurfacing. This Super Dry valve provides the swimmer the freedom to dive and then return to their maintainable swimming depth without ever breaking the water’s surface.
The UBA is completely transportable with a flexible hose you can fold up and store easily. All components on the UBA are extremely durable. The UBA also contains a weight located on the tubing under the float. This weight provides balance to the float to keep it upright and also reduces the drag of the UBA during use.
The awesome development team has been working all kinds of crazy hours to bring this new snorkel concept to fruition. As you can see from the video, the concept is almost there. But there are a few more development items to complete.
The first item is the snorkel retaining device. Snorkels typically have a small inexpensive clip that attaches the snorkel tube to the mask. This is important to keep the snorkel in place so that the mouthpiece does not impart significant forces to the mouth hence tiring the swimmer. With this UBA soft flexible tube design, turbulent waters will cause the floating part of the UBA to move around. The team has some concepts to try and then get the concepts into users hands to try them out.
There are several users of prototype UBAs and we are getting feedback for improvements and durability issues. For example, we have tried several mouthpieces until we found this current one that is available off the shelf.
With your help we will move forward with our first official production run! We have spent many hours and lots of planning to make sure we can fulfill out commitment. The basic idea is to order material, secure a facility, set up for production, build some inventory, and then start shipping! Some of the main requirements to do this include securing vendors (our suppliers), locate and consider facility options that fit our project budget (including availability after kickstarter), finish our tooling for production readiness, and have enough hands to build at an acceptable rate.
Out estimated delivery dates for each pledge option is based on our production plan. To give an idea of what that looks like here is a chart:
The chart shows the longest lead time we should expect from our suppliers. Most likely we will have all of our material two weeks before this max lead time, but we wanted to use this timeline to ensure we could meet our commitment.
We have suppliers for all required material. Several months ago we ordered small quantities from each of them for qualification and testing. We are very happy with the quality and are confident we can make all of our UBAs with these suppliers. To make this area even more secure we are currently working on second sources for each of the required components.
Right now we have several locations available within project budget and available after this campaign. Each one is more than adequate for our production requirements with enough floor space and all of the necessary utilities and amenities.
The tooling we have right now is designed for low volume and used to create our prototypes and test the methods for assembly. Meaning it likely wont last through several hundred uses week after week. We have been working on some changes and improving the tooling material for production rates. We have about half of the tooling switched over and just need several more parts to complete the rest. We expect to have all tooling complete and ready by the middle of March.
To build at the rate we are planning to fulfill our commitment we will need two people. We currently have more than that so we are prepared for the labor as is but once this campaign is complete we will hire two new employees that will be dedicated to the UBA product line.THE STORY
Once the idea of UBA came to be, we wanted it to be something that created a fun, exciting, and completely unique experience. How does the dolphin breathe and dive so deep? We started by reviewing the most well known underwater breathing product, the snorkel.
The basic snorkel is great but is has many limitations. Allowable head movement, swim depth, no natural breathing feeling, no flexibility, fear of inhaling water for amateurs, takes a long time to become accustomed to use..... This is when we started brainstorming. Why not a deeper swim? Why not allow more freedom of movement instead of just face down? What about a more reliable air source that you can trust?
These questions and more were what really thrust this product into existence. Once we had built the first prototype we were able to start defining the components and requirements to make this a real product. We learned about valves and weight distribution and tubing characteristics. Look at the early prototype #1 below. The weight below the float was random and the float cut to barely hold the air tube above water. Lots of water was inhaled with this version.
Prototype UBA #2 had many improvements. Not liking the aftertaste of indoor pool water, we went to a dry version of the UBA. This UBA had valves strategically place to prevent water from getting into the tubing. The upper part of a dry snorkel is embedded into the cool looking shark fin look. Weight distribution changed and a new kind of tubing was tried.
After months of testing and several prototypes later, we were satisfied with how fun and versatile this product could be. Prototype Pic #3 shows the black tubing with the desirable characteristics we wanted. This also has a mouthpiece that allows the snorkeler to exhale directly out the mouthpiece instead of the UBA tubing. As we continued to test and share our invention more and more people became interested and had even more ideas on how they could use it.
A simple trip to the local gym pool started to gather a lot of attention and interest. When someone is underwater for a long duration of time just doing laps people start to wonder how that's possible! This is one of the reasons the UBA is so great! The unique combination of the UBA components allows the user to swim freely while also providing a reliable air source. So much is possible with the UBA we can't wait to hear what you can do with it!
Risks and challenges
Our main design challenge at this point is the snorkel retainer. The UBA snorkel has a soft flexible tube unlike other snorkels which are rigid. The development team is confident that one of the concepts in progress will work.
The production of UBAs was made to be very simple and not labor intensive. We have worked with various suppliers that will deliver the parts in condition ready to install. We have secured suppliers for all of the required components. We also have quoted lead times and estimated delivery dates. Our only concern is that these dates can fluctuate. If this is the case we will notify all Kickstarter supporters with updated delivery dates for their rewards. We are committed to providing all of our supporters the best communication we can provide.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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