Today marks the very last day of Shark Week 2013 (sad face) so, on this very special occasion, and to help you get through the coming year unscathed and uneaten by sharks, I wanted to share some cool new technology with you.
Straight from the beaches of Western Australia—which are some of the most shark-infested waters in the world—comes a bunch of new wetsuit styles from a company called Shark Attack Mitigation Systems (SAMS).
SAMS worked with The Oceans Institute at The University of Western Australia (UWA) to come up with two designs—one which “allows the wearer to effectively blend with background colors in the water making it very difficult for a predatory shark to detect or focus” and another which makes the wearer “appear highly visible using disruptive color patterns totally unlike any normal prey.” In essence, depending on which suit you pick, you’ll either be more camouflaged in the ocean or look completely unfamiliar to Jaws over there.
“The design is based on the idea that most sharks don’t like to eat sea snakes,” Dr. Nathan Hart of UWA told Wired. “To adapt this concept for the wet suit, we provided SAMS with some parameters for the width of the bands based on the spatial resolving power, or visual acuity, of sharks, which determine the distance at which the shark can clearly see the bands.”
Other experts disagree—and some say that the striped suit could help provoke a shark attack!
“That striped suit that is supposed to look like a lionfish is about as nice a thing as you can do to attract shark, because of the contrast between dark and light,” George Burgess, Director of the Florida Program for Shark Research, told National Geographic.
SAMS, however, says that so far their shark-repelling tests have yielded extremely positive results. Still, they caution that there’s no such thing as 100 percent when you’re dealing with sharks—”We can never been 100 percent sure the suits will deter a shark attack as we are dealing with wild animals in their natural environment,” SAMS writes on their website.
Check out this video explaining the concept behind the wetsuits: