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Undergrad Designs Plastic Bubble For Cheap Undersea Observation


An inexpensive underwater house called "The Stud" was anchored on the ocean floor off Nahant last Saturday by its Harvard designer and builder.

James F. Clark '70 anchored the six foot-long portable plastic bubble to four boulders 25 feet under water and then inflated it with an air compressor floating above him on the surface.

Divers will use the bubble to observe underwater sea life without the encumbrance of bulky equipment.

"Because of its extreme versatility, portability, and economy, "The Stud" can put man in the sea on a much larger scale than ever before." Clark said. "Its use as a diver's resting place or observation platform is limited only by the depth to which a scuba diver can dive."

Up to this point, the least expensive underwater habitat has cost $20,000, Clark said. The entire "Stud" project cost only $300.


Clark financed the project himself, and constructed it in the basement of the Harvard biology laboratories. It is basically a welded steel frame the size of a single bed, covered by a thin plastic dome. The dome is supported by a nylon net. It is designed to be installed by two or three divers.

After an effortless installation, ten professional divers encountered difficulties with overcrowding, choppy waters, and occasional seasickness.

Harvard in Stud

Three of the divers were from Harvard: Marc J. Tolkoff '70, Martin W. De-Vries '70, and Barry Allen of the Design School.

"The Stud" launched last Saturday was an improved version of two previous models built during the past year. The original habitat was designed by Clark and Richard Chesher, a Harvard post doctoral student now working for Westinghouse.

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