Designed in collaboration with the RCA-IIS Tokyo Design Lab, Amphibio is Kamei's solution to a projected future in 2100 when global warming has melted the ice caps and rising oceans have affected 30 percent of the world's population. The intuitive reaction to such a disaster might be to move inland, but Kamei believes that a better idea would be to adopt a semi-aquatic lifestyle using something like the Amphibio artificial gill.
Still in the concept stage, Amphibio is a biomimetic artificial gill that's based on diving spiders and insects that have a superhydrophobic skin surface that allows them to gather a bubble of air around their bodies. These bubbles act like gills that let in oxygen dissolved in the surrounding water and release carbon dioxide.
Amphibio uses the same principle with a special and unspecified porous hydrophobic material that is suitable for 3D printing to create a sort of scalloped vest made of a series of air bladders that feed into a mask that covers the nose and mouth. Kamei describes Amphibio as being the intermediate point between free diving and scuba diving that allows divers to stay underwater longer using lighter equipment.
So far, Kamei has conducted lab tests with a test bladder filled with carbon dioxide and suspended in a tank to demonstrate its ability to absorb oxygen. He does admit that the design still has a long way to go, citing the fact that the surface area is too small and needs to be at least 32 m² (344 ft²) to gather enough oxygen for a person.
Though Kamei does acknowledge the engineering side of Amphibio, the technology is a very long way from being feasible, much less practical. The idea of an artificial gill has been mainstream since underwater pioneer Captain Jacques Cousteau declared in 1962 that the future of sea exploration was the creation of "menfish" who will breathe water. The problem is that there is a very large gap between the idea and the reality.