WetPC

What Does WetPC Mean?

WetPC is a wearable and waterproof underwater computer with a virtual heads-up display fastened to the diver mask, delivering a high-contrast field of vision. The WetPC multibutton keyboard device is handheld or worn on the diver’s belt or chest. The computer is mounted inside a pressure-proof housing on the back of the diver’s air tank.

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Considered the world’s first underwater computer, WetPC was developed in 1998 by Bruce MacDonald of the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Techopedia Explains WetPC

The WetPC keypad is known as a Kord Pad – a chord graphical user interface (CGUI) technology that operates via 31 hand-punched key combinations. By pressing two sequential chord combinations (a couplet), the diver may increase potential key combinations to more than 900, enough for most complex interfaces. To facilitate training, chord combinations may be hand-punched on a conventional keyboard.

The interface and key combinations are intuitive and easy to remember and do not require that the user be looking at the keypad. Plus, because it is digital, the WetPC keypad is unaffected by bumps and vibrations.

A WetPC variant is the SeaSlate, produced by AIMS and WetPC Pty Ltd. SeaSlate is comprised of an off-the-shelf pen computer inside a clear, waterproof case, and an LCD screen held by two hand grips – one of which provides the computer interface. A small floating antenna attaches to the serial port by cable to send GPS signals. SeaSlate is often used to provide data for Great Barrier Reef mapping trials.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.