Published July 18, 2013
If you’re ever in Los Angeles during a shark invasion, you might want to wear this suit.
An Australian research firm launched a wetsuit that researchers say will deter shark attacks, using new discoveries about the animal’s eyesight, reports the Agence France-Presse.
Working with the University of Western Australia’s Oceans Institute, research firm Shark Attack Mitigation Systems (SAMS) developed two wetsuits to protect surfers and divers from the toothy predators.
"It's based on new breakthrough science which is all about visionary systems for predatory sharks," Craig Anderson, of SAMS, told AFP. "We've been able to interpret that science and convert that into, basically, materials that create some confusion for sharks' visual systems."
According to research conducted, sharks are colorblind and perceive light differently. The “Elude” line of wetsuits is designed to “hide” divers and snorkelers in the water column, according to Anderson.
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Research also shows that sharks are repelled by food items with black and white banding, as they are often perceived as “unpalatable,” researcher Shaun Collin.
"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," Collin told the AFP.
Sharks are common down under, but attacks used to average 15 incidents a year; typically one would prove to be fatal.
Funded by the Australian government, in response to an increase in shark attacks, research was conducted for two years. The increase in attacks is due to population growth, as well as the popularity of water sports, according to experts.
Using dummies and tiger sharks off Australia's has been successful, sharks have been seen gliding past dummies wearing the special patterns, but attacking those in traditional black wetsuits. Further research will be conducted.
The company licensed their technology to Radiator, a wetsuit manufacturer. Pre-orders for the first suits were taken Thursday, priced around $392.