Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Shark deterrent wetsuit

TED Talk presented by Hamish Jolly
Rating: ****

Imagine a surfing wetsuit that protects against more than just hypothermia, sunburn and impact control. A team of Australian scientists have teamed up with some elite surfers and quality wetsuit manufacturers to make a wetsuit that makes surfers virtually immune to sharks.

Aussie scientists including the presenter of this talk, Hamish Jolly, heard about a large amount of shark attacks on surfers on the western edge of Australia. These attacks resulted in numerous fatalities, and that’s when the research for change begun. The scientists that were working on this project thought back to the age old tactic that saves lives of millions of animals on a daily basis, camouflage. Sharks in this region of the ocean had no desire to attack marine species with white and black stripes, almost resembling a zebra. This camouflage has used for several years within tribes of the island to deter sharks, this was a sufficient amount of evidence for this group of scientists to begin the fabrication and testing. The experimentation with the prototypes of this wetsuit proved to be conclusive and they are now sold today. One colour that is almost identical to any body of water which camouflages surfers into the abyss of the sea. The other colour is the white and black striped design to deter a shark from attacking while still being visible.

This research and development makes me a less nervous about trying surfing as it is a technology that is very commonly used today. Being that I have never surfed and rarely receive the opportunity to surf, the research for this project does not affect me or other canadians very heavily, however; I find it amazing what we can do with science in outdoor activities for a more safe and fun experience in the wild.

Jolly, Hamish. TED Talks. A Shark deterrent wetsuit - October 2013

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