We saw a Pi running underwater at CES in Las Vegas!

Wheeeeew the desert is cold at this time of year. We have just returned from CES in Las Vegas, US, and we were thrilled to see so many innovative products using Raspberry Pi technology.

HZO pi running underwater gif
The (soggy) belle of the CES ball

One of our favourites has to be this Raspberry Pi 4 running perfectly happily underwater. Not only that, but the submerged board is running the video reel for HZO’s CES booth, and they’ve toured it around the country at various events for almost ten years now. The Raspberry Pi is connected to both USB C power and micro HDMI video out, which feeds a monitor on dry land.

How is it running underwater, you ask? Well, HZO is a company that specialises in thin-film and nanocoating solutions. To prove the durability of their products, they coated a Raspberry Pi in one of them and chucked it in a tank full of water, where it stayed alive for the duration of the conference. Keeping one of our tiny computers going in very wet conditions for just a few days is impressive enough, but our jaws hit the floor when we learnt that there is a Raspberry Pi that has been running underwater in the lobby of HZO’s building for 525 days and counting. I definitely could not hold my breath for a year and a half.

HZO's raspberry pi in a water tank with a display screen just outside displaying how long it has been running underwater for
Proof of life

HZO’s mission is to free electronics from the constraints imposed by things like dust and humidity, making them accessible to people living and working in more rugged environments. They also do work for the aerospace and defence, life science, and automotive, and mobility industries.

We’re not sure which treatment our tiny green computer got — HZO produces a number of specialised coatings. Perhaps the Raspberry Pi got a parylene coating, as that seems to be a highly water-resistant and submersible option. They also offer plasma-applied coatings that are apparently a good low-cost option if you’re not going to be chucking your tech into the deep on a regular basis. Here’s an excellent diagram from HZO showing how they apply some of these.

A diagram showing both the Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)
Parylene Coating Process and Plasma Enhanced CVD (PECVD)
Plasma Applied Coating Process

Let’s all gather in the comments and throw out suggestions of things we could do with a Pi if it were safely coated in some HZO magic. I’ll go first. We could go back in time and teach Ariel programming so she didn’t have to literally and figuratively give up her voice to chase Prince Eric as the only viable option to broaden her life chances.

Ariel the little mermaid swimming upwards in circles from a seated position on a rock. There are some yellow seahorses swimming around her and some purple algae looking mess on the rock.
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