Technology August 27, 2012
Into The Deep: British Woman Explores The Ocean's Depths In Her Underwater Wheelchair

If you're of a certain vintage, you might remember a certain TV show called 'That's Incredible'. It was a hit in the early 80's, featuring people doing - you guessed it - incredible things.

Arguably, the most incredible thing was John Davidson's hair, which is equally remarkable these days, but we digress.

A British woman named Sue Austin has come up with something that's incredible - an underwater wheelchair. Austin has been in a wheelchair for more than 15 years. About 7 years ago, she decided she'd like to try scuba diving.

Well, with the help of diving experts and academics, she's developed a wheelchair that she can operate underwater.


Austin built it from a National Health Service wheelchair. She and her team spent months making it water-ready.

It has swimming floats and two dive propulsion vehicles, which Austin controls with her feet. She also modified the heel plates, so they form fins at the back of her feet which help her steer.

She has a series of web videos that are being posted online this week. Here's the first one.

Austin will be demonstrating what the chair can do at the London 2012 Festival Wednesday through Saturday. The exhibition is called Creating the Spectacle. It's funded by Unlimited, an Arts Council program that celebrates the work of disabled artists.

There is one problem with the chair. The frame is starting to rust. Austin says the next one should be made of titanium.

Related stories on

Can A Bird Tweet Underwater? It Can If It's A Sub.



Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are pre-moderated/reviewed and published according to our submission guidelines.