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Future Tech: 

Anti-shark swimsuits give swimmers peace of mind

Would you want to eat these suits?

Would you want to eat these suits?

If Jaws and Deep Blue Sea have taught us anything, it’s that in a weaponless fight between man and shark, shark usually wins. With this in mind, entrepreneurs Hamish Jolly and Craig Anderson have paired up with The Oceans Institute at the University of Western Australia to develop swimsuits that could prevent Jaws from seeing you as lunch.

The wetsuits come in two versions: “Elude,” for swimmers and ‘Diverter’ for surfers. Elude is designed to camouflage swimmers so they can blend into the water around them with its “disruptive coloration and shaping” whereas the Diverter – striped like a pilot fish – intends to make users appear as a dangerous or improbable food choice for sharks.

The technology implemented in the suits uses scientific data about sharks’ vision and how they identify objects in the water. The Shark Attack Mitigation Systems (SAMS) uses the data that vary from contrasting colors and shapes to sizes and determines which patterns would most effectively impact a great white’s vision under water.

So what do the experts say?

Last week we hosted a feature from Dr. Andy Nosal and talked about how we can use the web to find out more about the deep blue. Here is what he thinks about anti-shark suits in general:

“I’ve seen them, I think it’s an interesting idea. I’m not totally sure it’ll work. If you wear a wetsuit with lots of crazy stripes and strange patterns there’s evidence in nature that animals are attracted to novelty, to things they’ve never seen before. If the wetsuit camouflages you, then great, but if it just makes you look strange that could also attract attention, so that could cause an animal to check you out. Unfortunately the way sharks investigate is with their mouths. What would be a gentle test bite to a shark would be catastrophic to a comparably weak human. I’m eager to see what they do, the science hasn’t been tested, but hopefully they do work.”

Whether these suits work or not, we’re unsure if we’d paddle towards a floating fin just to test them!

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