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"Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn; when they do, which isn't often, on their own, the hard way."
- Robert Heinlein

Diveskin  
  Special wetsuit that allows a diver to function at extreme depths.  

Most of the action in Starfish takes place much deeper in the ocean than a person could venture unprotected. Extremes of temperature and very high pressure would make it impossible. One of the technological adaptations is the skinsuit, a special form of wetsuit.

She twists out of reach without a word, bending down to seal the [dive]skin on her leg. Fischer watches the leggings slide up her body. They seem almost alive. They are almost alive, he remembers. The 'skin's got these reflexes, changes its permeability and thermal conductivity in response to body temperature. Maintains, what's the word, homeostasis.
From Starfish, by Peter Watts.
Published by Tor Books in 1999
Additional resources -

It is made out of a copolymer that can withstand temperatures of 150 degrees centigrade.

The wetsuit, which the skinsuit is modeled on, was invented in the early 1950's. The basic idea is that a small amount of water is allowed into the suit, and is then trapped against the body; the neoprene insulates this warm layer. That's why a wetsuit has to be skin tight.

Compare to skin suit from Dinosaur Beach (1971) by Keith Laumer, transkin from Parasite Planet (1931), by Stanley G. Weinbaum, kloraderm from Old Man's War (2005), by John Scalzi and skintight from War Dogs (2014), by Greg Bear.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Starfish
  More Ideas and Technology by Peter Watts
  Tech news articles related to Starfish
  Tech news articles related to works by Peter Watts

Diveskin-related news articles:
  - Breathable Carbon Nanotube Membrane For 'Smart Uniforms'

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