Aquapod: A thesis project navigating the future of marine tourism with sustainability and innovation

Sep 06, 2023

Aquapod is a master's thesis project created by Zain Kadri, focusing on the significance of sustainable marine tourism. The project introduces a carefully designed system that allows travellers to engage with and contribute to the marine environment. In the mesmerizing waters of Koh Samui in 2022, amidst the colourful coral reefs and the silent wonders of the deep sea, an idea was born that would go on to reshape the future of marine tourism. It all began with a curious traveller named Zain Kadri, whose journey into the world beneath the waves ignited a passion for the oceans and innovation. 


The future of marine tourism depends on embracing inclusive and innovative technologies while remaining steadfast in our commitment to environmental stewardship. This newfound passion became the driving force behind a vision that would revolutionize how we explore and protect our underwater ecosystems. The coral reefs, home to a quarter of all marine life on Earth, were under grave threat due to human activities. Research hinted at the exponential growth of the marine tourism industry by 2030, raising concerns about its impact on our precious natural resources.

A New Era of Marine Tourism

It became evident that marine tourism operators needed to adapt and prioritize sustainability to meet the evolving demands of conscientious travellers. And so, the journey to shape the future of marine tourism began in earnest. In his thesis project, the designer envisioned a future where government organizations and the private sector collaborated to chart a sustainable course. Sea Beyond, an entity passionately committed to ocean literacy among children, was among the hypothetical stakeholders in this journey. Another, perhaps unexpected, participant was Dyson, renowned for household appliances. Dyson's engineering and design prowess would prove instrumental in creating a new way to experience the ocean.

The Design

The exterior design of the Aquapod draws inspiration from an "air purifier" aesthetic. This design concept reflects the brand's commitment to clean and environmentally friendly manufacturing practices, emphasizing recycled materials. To monitor and enhance the underwater experience, the Aquapod is equipped with a range of sensors and LiDAR technology. These devices record and watch the water quality index, seabed conditions, and the health of marine life.

The Aquapod Experience

The Aquapod experience was designed to be inclusive, catering to children, adults, and those with disabilities. Inside the Aquapod is space for two passengers: a guest serving as a co-pilot and a licensed pilot positioned in the rear. The pod is loaded with technology that enhances the underwater experience. A heads-up display (HUD) provides information about records, trip details, activities, and the surrounding environment. A digital console around the passenger area offers compass directions and educational content on navigation skills. An ultrasound haptic system within this console allows passengers to feel sensations mimicking the underwater environment and the movement of aquatic life.

Promoting Sustainable Development

At its heart, the Aquapod project emphasized our role in promoting sustainable development and responsible ocean governance. It showcased the power of innovation in creating a harmonious relationship between humanity and nature. It promised a distinctive vision and glimpse of the future's limitless potential. This project was a testament to the belief that environmental challenges should drive transportation designers to adopt sustainable, efficient, and environmentally conscious approaches. Aquapod was poised to inspire related industries worldwide and instil hope for a brighter and more sustainable tomorrow.

In Conclusion, Aquapod is a sustainable marine tourism concept that combines advanced technology, eco-friendly design, and immersive experiences to provide travellers with a unique and educational underwater adventure.

About Designer

Zain Kadri is an Indian designer who successfully earned his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Transportation Design from the Umea Institute of Design in 2023. He gained valuable experience during his earlier internships at Design Storz in Austria and Ultraviolette Automotive in India, where he had the opportunity to work on various aspects of mobility design. Zain's educational background and work experience aren't limited to transportation design alone; he also holds an undergraduate certification and has worked as a furniture and interior designer. This diverse background has sparked his interest in exploring how humans interact with their living spaces.