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"We were essentially being shell-shocked by rapid change. That was one of the things you needed science-fiction writers for back in the Sixties, because we could cope with the future."
- Peter Watts

Recycler  
  A surgically implanted device that enables a diver to obtain oxygen directly from seawater.  

The rifters, or divers working on the deep sea rift, have been surgically modified to adapt them to their new environment. One such modification is a device that extracts oxygen from sea water.

Ballard peels her 'skin down to the waist. Just under her left breast, the electrolyzer intake pokes out through her rib cage.

Clarke stares vaguely at that perforated disk in Ballard's flesh. The ocean goes into us there, she thinks. The old knowledge seems newly significant, somehow. We suck it into us and steal its oxygen and spit it out again.

From Starfish, by Peter Watts.
Published by Tor Books in 1999
Additional resources -

Getting oxygen from the surrounding water is the best way to have an unlimited air supply. The history of "rebreathing" devices has a rather checkered history. For example, a Frenchmen named Freminet invented a device that recycled the exhaled air in 1772. Unfortunately, his invention failed to fully recharge the air with oxygen; he died from lack of oxygen after twenty minutes.

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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

Recycler-related news articles:
  - Extreme 2003: Hydrothermal Vent Grind
  - Breathe Like A Fish Thanks To Alan Bodner

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