New wetsuits said to deter shark attacks

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AUSTRALIA20130719

A handout photo courtesy of Shark Attack Mitigation Systems (SAMS) shows a surfer (left) and a diver wearing wetsuits displaying the two styles of SAMS shark deterrent technology, with the surfer holding a surfboard also showing the new design. AFP PHOTO

SYDNEY: An Australian research firm on Thursday launched what is being touted as the world’s first anti-shark wetsuit, using new discoveries about the predators’ eyesight to stave off or evade an attack.

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Working in conjunction with the University of Western Australia’s (UWA) Oceans Institute, entrepreneurs Hamish Jolly and Craig Anderson have developed two lines of wetsuit designed to protect divers and surfers from sharks.

“It’s based on new breakthrough science which is all about visionary systems for predatory sharks,” said Anderson. “We’ve been able to interpret that science and convert that into, basically, materials that create some confusion for sharks’ visual systems.”

The blue-and-white “Elude” range, designed for divers and snorkellers, uses research about sharks’ perceptions of light and color blindness to essentially “hide you in the water column,” Anderson said.

The “Diverter”—mainly for surfers—is based on what sharks perceive as danger signs in nature, with a bold black and white banding pattern to imitate an “unpalatable food item,” according to UWA researcher Shaun Collin.

AFP

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