Australians unveil 'shark-proof' wetsuits

11:08 AM, Jul 21, 2013   |    comments
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USA Today -- Australian researchers say they've come up with the first shark-proof wetsuits, reports the BBC.

Divers and surfers might be a little disappointed to learn that the suits aren't made of some magical fiber that wards off sharp teeth - this is all about visual tricks.

One has black and white stripes, on the theory that a shark would see that as a warning to stay away from possibly poisonous prey, explains the West Australian. The other suit is basically blue, and adorned in a way to make the wearer invisible in the water to the color-blind sharks. The first is for surfers and swimmers, the second for divers.

After a big spike in shark attacks in Australia, scientists from the University of Western Australia teamed up with designers from the commercial Shark Attack Mitigation Systems to create the $500 suits. They just went on sale this week, so it's too early to tell whether the designs work in the real world.

A contributor at Slashdot sums it up this way: "Apparently Australians have come up with the brilliant idea: if you don't want to be eaten by a shark, it's best to not go swimming in shark-infested waters in a seal costume."

(From the sharks' perspective, becoming the victim of an optical illusion is probably better than being killed on sight.)

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