T. (Phil) Nuytten, OBC, L.L.D., DSc..
Phil Nuytten has spent his life in subsea exploration. He has logged
many thousands of hours underwater world-wide as a working commercial
diver and as a developer of underwater equipment and techniques.
He is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of the modern commercial
diving industry and a significant force in the creation of new technology.
In the 1960's
and 70's, Nuytten was heavily involved in experimental deep-diving
and the development of mixed gas decompression tables. In 1968 he
was a member of the team that completed the first 600 foot ocean
‘bounce’ dives on ‘Project Nesco’, and in
1972 he wrote the protocol for ‘Deep Work 1000’, the
first North American thousand foot saturation dive. These early
projects helped set the international standards in use today.
|During this period,
Phil Nuytten co-founded Oceaneering International Inc. Oceaneering
International pioneered many early subsea development projects, and
has gone on to become one of the largest underwater skills companies
in the world.
In the 1970’s, working with long-time colleague Dr. Joe MacInnis,
Nuytten headed the equipment research component of a series of high-arctic
expeditions. Among the goals of these expeditions was the testing
of his own designs of life-support gear for use in polar and sub-polar
conditions. In 1984, Phil Nuytten appeared on the cover of National
Geographic Magazine for his record dives through ice-covered arctic
waters onto the ‘Breadalbane’, the northern-most known
shipwreck. His involvement in underwater activities in virtually all
of the world’s oceans has resulted in articles on his work in
Reader’s Digest, Business Week, Newsweek, Time, Popular Science,
Discovery, Fortune, and Scientific American, as well as dozens of
dozens of diving and aerospace technical journals. Nuytten is a popular
speaker at underwater conferences around the world and has published
numerous technical papers on his leading-edge work in subsea technology.
Phil Nuytten has been instrumental in the development and current
acceptance of Atmospheric Diving System technology. In 1979, he began
work on a revolutionary new one-atmosphere diving suit that resulted
in a patented break-through in rotary joint design, and formed the
basis for the world-famous ‘Newtsuit’. The ‘Newtsuit’
is a thousand foot-rated hard suit that completely protects the wearer
from outside pressure and eliminates the need for decompression while
still maintaining mobility and dexterity – a “submarine
that you wear”. It is now standard equipment in many of the
In 1997, Nuytten and his design team produced the two thousand foot-rated
micro-submersible ‘DeepWorker 2000’: a revolutionary deep-diving
system that has been called an “underwater sports car”.
Nuytten and Nuytco Research Ltd. received a five year contract from
the National Geographic Society to provide DeepWorker 2000 submersibles
and crews on Dr. Sylvia Earle’s ‘Sustainable Seas Expeditions’:
an initiative to study deep ocean environmental impact. The use of
the DeepWorker micro-subs to explore and monitor National marine sanctuaries
has already increased scientists’ understanding of underwater
ecology, habitats, and biodiversity.
NASA contracted a pair of DeepWorkers to study their possible use
in the recovery of the Space Shuttle booster rockets, and in 2000
DeepWorkers successfully recovered the Space Shuttle booster rockets
from the May flight to the U.S. Space Station. NASA is currently studying
acquisition of a pair of titanium Deepworkers specifically dedicated
to booster rocket recovery. Nuytten’s work with NASA spans more
than twenty-five years, and he has published several papers on space
applications of undersea technology. He is also a senior member of
the American Association of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a life
member of the American Association of Underwater Scientists.
in the year 2000, Nuytten introduced a new concept for an ultra light weight, swimming, hard suit called the ‘Exosuit'. Nuytten and his team recently completed a contract for the Canadian Department of National Defence to examine the feasibility of using the Exosuit as a submarine escape device.
Nuytten and his design team completed the first side-by-side Dual DeepWorker, designed for a pilot and one observer. This 2000'-rated submersible has both commercial and scientific applications, and has been used for deep-diving underwater tourism.
In 2005, Nuytten and his team finalized development on the ‘Prehensor' – an articulated “hand” for use on one atmosphere diving suits and space-related pressure suits. In addition, the ‘Prehensor' is fully adaptable to remote-controlled manipulators. This three year project has resulted in a prosthetic-like device that mimics the human hand and will allow manipulative dexterity far in advance of the current pliers-style end effectors.
In 2006, the US Navy set a world's record by descending to a depth of 2000 feet in a one-atmosphere ‘Hardsuit' based on Nuytten's original ‘Newtsuit' patent.
Nuytten and his team spent 2008 preparing for the Beta-testing of various sub-systems of the Exosuit, fabricating parts and preparing for a 2009 prototype. Plans to utilize a space version of the Exosuit are under discussion. Nuytten and his team are currently training astronauts from NASA and the Canadian Space Agency as pilots of the DeepWorker Submersibles for the Pavilion Lake Research Project (PLRP), a multi-year research project. The PLRP presents an opportunity to advance the long-term objective of human exploration of the Moon and Mars by combining research on life in extreme environments with high fidelity training in an underwater, remote field setting. The information gained from this analogue project will help to improve the knowledge base, tools and techniques of future human missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond. DeepWorker training continues into the 2009 field season.
Dr. Phil Nuytten has earned many international honours and awards. These include commercial diving's highest award from the Association of Diving Contractors International, the Academy of Underwater Art and Sciences ‘Nogi' award, induction into the ‘Diving Hall of Fame', and the Explorer's Club's prestigious ‘Lowell Thomas' Award. In 1992, Nuytten was awarded the Order of British Columbia, his home province's highest honour, in recognition of his role in making British Columbia one of the world centres of underwater technology.
outstanding Canadian achievements were recognized again in 2000 when
he received the Canadian Underwater Pioneer Award. In 2001 Nuytten
received the Jules Verne Award in Paris for his international accomplishments
in the subsea field and in 2007 he was recognized and feted as a ‘Legend of the Sea' at the 36th annual exposition ‘Beneath the Sea' in New York .
Phil Nuytten has spent nearly forty years to developing undersea
systems that have the safety of the diving technician as their common
theme. His goal has been to provide scientific, technical, military,
and sport divers full access to continental shelf depths without
the hazards of decompression, so that humans can explore, learn
about and - ultimately - protect the world’s oceans