Science Hopes "Invisibility Wetsuits" Might Deter Sharks

Science Hopes "Invisibility Wetsuits" Might Deter Sharks

Shark

Having found that sharks are color-blind, Australian scientists have deployed two new wetsuits which they believe will keep the toothy beasts at bay.

Despite their fearsome reputation, sharks are like any other animal. They eat, swim and reproduce according to instinct, and have very little in the way of reasoning skills. This is a lucky break for us humans, as it allows science to create wetsuits that either render a person effectively invisible or actively frighten the shark into avoiding the wearer. Wetsuits like the newly-revealed "Elude" and "Diverter."

The Elude, as you'd expect, is the so-called "invisibility wetsuit." It relies on a camouflage pattern to hide a person among the waves. The Diverter, by contrast, utilizes bright white and dark blue stripes to send a message to sharks that this particular creature is, at best, unappetizing (and at worst, full of poison). "Many animals in biology are repelled by noxious animals - prey that provide a signal that somehow says 'Don't eat me' - and that has been manifest in a striped pattern," states Professor Shaun Collin of the University of Western Australia's Ocean Institute. "We are using a lot of nature's technology, based on high-contrast-based banding patterns. The wearer will be obvious, and the idea is the shark will see that as an unpalatable food item and swim right by."

These new suits are a joint effort between researchers at the University of Western Australia, and designers at Shark Attack Mitigation Systems. Western Australia has been a hotbed of shark activity of late - 5 fatal attacks have occurred in a recent 12-month span - and the team behind these suits hopes that they might save a few lives.

"The idea is to reduce the risk of the wearer in certain conditions," says Collin.

Testing of these suits is ongoing, but the team claims that both suits have already been successfully tested against notoriously aggressive tiger sharks. They weren't being worn by humans during that test, but the researchers remain confident.

"We now know what these big predatory sharks can see, and what we have done is convert that science into a marketable technology," says Hamish Jolly, a designer with Shark Attack Mitigation Systems. "We have converted that into patents that we know will hide [wearers] or present wearers as not shark food."

Source: Guardian

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Testing of these suits is ongoing, but the team claims that both suits have already been successfully tested against notoriously aggressive tiger sharks. They weren't being worn by humans during that test, but the researchers remain confident.

lol, was anything wearing them, at least? I wish them the best of luck with the project overall, but proving that a tiger shark has little interest in attacking/eating a non-occupied piece of rubber does not make a valid test.

Well, there are but a few issues.

1. Sharks have four other ways of sensing you. Not only can they feel your movement in the water, smell your blood, and hear your splashes, but they can also sense the electric impulses of your muscles.

But we shall never hide from the horror that is... A SHARKNADO!

With roundabout 100 shark attacks a year of which only 10 to 20 are usually fatal this is a fucking waste of time.
And you wish I was joking. If you google some of the amazingly bizarre death statistics you see some crazy stuff like 400 - 600 people per year being killed in the US from falling out of their beds while sleeping...

Leave the sharks alone.

Ishigami:
With roundabout 100 shark attacks a year of which only 10 to 20 are usually fatal this is a fucking waste of time.
And you wish I was joking. If you google some of the amazingly bizarre death statistics you see some crazy stuff like 400 - 600 people per year being killed in the US from falling out of their beds while sleeping...

Leave the sharks alone.

One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic huh?

Saving a few people from death is still a big thing. Even so, there are other factors other than death like PTSD to consider. Stop being so apathetic.

Jadak:
but proving that a tiger shark has little interest in attacking/eating a non-occupied piece of rubber does not make a valid test.

It does partially prove the point, Tiger Sharks will attack and eat anything whether it's living or not. They're near legendary for turning up with stuff you'd never expect in them, like tins of paint, bits of cars, whole guns, road signs and so on.

If Tiger sharks don't even take an exploratory bite out of an object, it's a solid indicator you've made the object somehow undesirable to them, visually at least. It's hardly proof, but it's enough to progress your testing.

Having said that, given that sharks can also smell, hear, feel and sense the electrical field of living creatures, it's hard to see what difference being invisible makes to them.

here's an idea...how about we just stay away from the killer sharks ? no ? not enough "i own the entire fucking planet bitches !" for you ? oh you're Australian...a well that explains it...if there was ever a country that didn't pay attention to mother nature telling humanity not to live there it was Australia...ok...good luck with your "invisible to sharks" suit thingy then...

Ishigami:
With roundabout 100 shark attacks a year of which only 10 to 20 are usually fatal this is a fucking waste of time.
And you wish I was joking. If you google some of the amazingly bizarre death statistics you see some crazy stuff like 400 - 600 people per year being killed in the US from falling out of their beds while sleeping...

Leave the sharks alone.

Now we just need to make a suit that makes you invisible to... gravity. Seriously, that's why I sleep on a futon, it's less than a foot off the ground, and after reading this statistic, I can only question how many times it's saved my life. Anyways, good to know we're making progress in the war against sharks, even if they still have other means of sensing you.

Off topic though, I saw Sharknado last night. That shit was crazy.

As others have said: sharks have the ability to sense bioelectricity, have one of the best senses of smell in the animal kingdom (they can smell one part blood in 1 million parts water, I believe), and have a lateral line that can pick up movement and vibrations from a ridiculous distance. Sight is actually one of their least used senses.

Unless they've found a way to isolate your body's electric signal, and deaden the vibrations your body makes (such as your hammering heart beat if, I dunno, a giant fucking shark appears) then I think they've got a long way to go.

Also, while Tiger Sharks can be vicious, vicious bastards, and are classed as the second most deadly type, divers have been able to dive with them sans cage for quite some time now. If you make it very clear to them that you're not food, then they can be quite unreactive buggers. And I don't think a lump of rubber in a wetsuit with no electrical signal or movement vibrations is going to be all that appetising to a tiger shark.

image

mad825:
One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic huh?

Excuse me what do you mean?

mad825:
Saving a few people from death is still a big thing. Even so, there are other factors other than death like PTSD to consider. Stop being so apathetic.

The odds of being the victim of a deadly shark attack is what? 1 to 3 700 000? It is way more likely to be hit by lightning.
Not to mention you can lower the odds even further by a great deal by simply not swimming where man-eater live.
There you have the very best way to protect yourself.

Mossberg Shotty:
Anyways, good to know we're making progress in the war against sharks

image

Looks like asymmetrical warfare to me...

Invisibility, you say? Ummm...you're better off making better cages for shark-infested waters. Or make something that's just bite-proof.

Yeah I read this and think "so fthe four means that sharks can detect prey in the water (sight, pressure, smell, bioelectric) they choose the worst one to fight against." Sharks of all breeds have TERRIBLE eyesight in the water and is very insignificant in spotting prey. Odds are good if a shark detected you it wasn't because you were seen.

I know im just some spak on the internet and these fellas are proberly some of the best in their fields but don't sharks sense via ectrical fields? Colours don't mean shit, proberly why they're colour blind, they didn't need it!

My method of shark deterrence is better. I don't go in the water.

Now I'm no marine biologist, but I have seen Shark Week on the Discovery Channel a few times.

That said.......don't sharks hunt mainly by smell and not by sight? For that matter, can't they actually sense the electrical impulses running through their prey's nervous systems and that's another powerful sense they use over their actual sight?

Just saying I'm almost certain that eyesight isn't a shark's greatest hunting tool. Hell, the reason they attack surfers is because they think the surf board looks like a seal.

Ishigami:

Mossberg Shotty:
Anyways, good to know we're making progress in the war against sharks

Looks like asymmetrical warfare to me...

I guess that's a failure to communicate on my part, I don't really harbor the belief that we're engaged in some kind of open conflict with sharks. If the rest of my post wasn't a good indicator, the whole statement should be taken with a massive grain of salt. To be fair, they haven't really been given a good shake, what with the fin/teeth harvesting, and the whole systematic genocide thing. That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but not too far off.

They aren't the most sympathetic creatures, but I don't think they deserve such a bad rap.

Except these guys. They can die in a fire.

Hope they don't hunt by the smell or warmth of urine in the water. Of which there's be plenty if a fuckin' shark just "swam right by" me.

Read the article folks. The suit doesn't make you undetectable by the sharks. It creates a false warning, implying that you are not good meat to eat, like poisonous fish.

Essentially, it makes you seem about as appetizing as glass shards in a vial of bloody semen.

Unless you colour the surfboards too, I can still imagine them mistaking those things for seals. For a shark looking up at a surfer, it's not going to see what kind of wetsuit that person has on.

Kyoh:
Read the article folks. The suit doesn't make you undetectable by the sharks. It creates a false warning, implying that you are not good meat to eat, like poisonous fish.

Essentially, it makes you seem about as appetizing as glass shards in a vial of bloody semen.

If its supposed to make you look poisonous does that mean it's some sort of bright yellow polka dotted with red... Cause I would totally buy that!

Wait, isn't sight arguably a shark's least important sense for detecting prey?

Me thinks a suit that makes you smell repugnant to them would be a better idea.

Ishigami:
With roundabout 100 shark attacks a year of which only 10 to 20 are usually fatal this is a fucking waste of time.
And you wish I was joking. If you google some of the amazingly bizarre death statistics you see some crazy stuff like 400 - 600 people per year being killed in the US from falling out of their beds while sleeping...

Leave the sharks alone.

You know, one way to help leave the sharks alone would be to help reduce attacks because every time there is a shark attack people often go out of their way to hunt the shark that did the attack and if it caused a fatality they often try to kill the shark.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Unless they've found a way to isolate your body's electric signal, and deaden the vibrations your body makes (such as your hammering heart beat if, I dunno, a giant fucking shark appears) then I think they've got a long way to go.

I dunno, aren't many attacks on people that didn't know there was a shark nearby? I'll admit I've pulled this out of my arse but I'd imagine that some attacks may have happened to unaware people so their heart rate wouldn't have been elevated until after the first hit.

SSJBlastoise:

Ishigami:
With roundabout 100 shark attacks a year of which only 10 to 20 are usually fatal this is a fucking waste of time.
And you wish I was joking. If you google some of the amazingly bizarre death statistics you see some crazy stuff like 400 - 600 people per year being killed in the US from falling out of their beds while sleeping...

Leave the sharks alone.

You know, one way to help leave the sharks alone would be to help reduce attacks because every time there is a shark attack people often go out of their way to hunt the shark that did the attack and if it caused a fatality they often try to kill the shark.

We can reduce attacks by almost 100% by staying out of their territory or just swimming in a man-made pool or something. Last time I checked, they were the ones that ABSOLUTELY NEED to be in the water to live, not people.

also, while normal sharks may be fooled by camouflage, sharknadoes do not discriminate in their victims

Can you make me one that works on Fox News viewers? I could hide from my family for life.

Jadak:

lol, was anything wearing them, at least? I wish them the best of luck with the project overall, but proving that a tiger shark has little interest in attacking/eating a non-occupied piece of rubber does not make a valid test.

Now I'm just picturing someone stuffing a steak in a suit. Or a cow-sized suit, because why not go a little ridiculous and go whole hog...Err...Cow?

Not G. Ivingname:
Well, there are but a few issues.

1. Sharks have four other ways of sensing you. Not only can they feel your movement in the water, smell your blood, and hear your splashes, but they can also sense the electric impulses of your muscles.

Perhaps it will also make you smell bad, dampen your electrical impulses, and play Justin Beiber.

...I kid Justin Beiber. It will obviously be Nickelback, well known as shark kryptonite.

mad825:
Even so, there are other factors other than death like PTSD to consider. Stop being so apathetic.

If that's the case, shouldn't we focus on dealing with the trauma endured from tripping over your spouse's dead body when you get up to pee? Seems statistically it happens to more people. And what about the survivors?

I'm not personally apathetic to sharkbait, but it really seems like there are better places to spend the money and do the researches. Even better animals to try and protect against.

Especially since a good chunk of those attacks appear to be provoked attacks.

Kyoh:
Read the article folks. The suit doesn't make you undetectable by the sharks. It creates a false warning, implying that you are not good meat to eat, like poisonous fish.

Essentially, it makes you seem about as appetizing as glass shards in a vial of bloody semen.

It doesn't matter when the shark has terrible vision anyways. By the time they can spot you thry've already determined you're lunch.

Jadak:

Testing of these suits is ongoing, but the team claims that both suits have already been successfully tested against notoriously aggressive tiger sharks. They weren't being worn by humans during that test, but the researchers remain confident.

lol, was anything wearing them, at least? I wish them the best of luck with the project overall, but proving that a tiger shark has little interest in attacking/eating a non-occupied piece of rubber does not make a valid test.

I would say a dummy was wearing it, still until a person wears one it really means little and I doubt anyone will volunteer for that swim....

Ishigami:
With roundabout 100 shark attacks a year of which only 10 to 20 are usually fatal this is a fucking waste of time.
And you wish I was joking. If you google some of the amazingly bizarre death statistics you see some crazy stuff like 400 - 600 people per year being killed in the US from falling out of their beds while sleeping...

Leave the sharks alone.

So designing suits so that sharks won't attack people is a bad thing why? Their not hurting the sharks at all, this is about using what we know about colours etc to trick the sharks into thinking we're not food (which is true, sharks usually take a bike and then thats it, we don't taste good to them, unfortuently that one bit can be enough to cause serious injury or death). What the hell is your problem?

Ishigami:
With roundabout 100 shark attacks a year of which only 10 to 20 are usually fatal this is a fucking waste of time.
And you wish I was joking. If you google some of the amazingly bizarre death statistics you see some crazy stuff like 400 - 600 people per year being killed in the US from falling out of their beds while sleeping...

Leave the sharks alone.

Why are you so against tapping into the excessively lucrative market that is "paranoid tourists"?

Also, nearly everyone sleeps in a bed every night, and many will fall out of one this year, while most people never even see a shark, much less get attacked by one, and way less than 10%-20% of bed-falls are fatal. Your examples are meaningless unless you can put them in percentages.

when scientists "hopes" you can expect bad things to happen.

Jadak:

Testing of these suits is ongoing, but the team claims that both suits have already been successfully tested against notoriously aggressive tiger sharks. They weren't being worn by humans during that test, but the researchers remain confident.

lol, was anything wearing them, at least? I wish them the best of luck with the project overall, but proving that a tiger shark has little interest in attacking/eating a non-occupied piece of rubber does not make a valid test.

they probabvly used raw meat in the suit, jsut like in all other shart attack tests.

that being said i would not like to be a live target for their testing.

 

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