Australians Unveil 'Shark-Proof' Wetsuits

Or so they hope

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 20, 2013 5:31 PM CDT

(Newser) – 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 this fate.)

One of the new designs, as seen in a frame grab. This one is designed for swimmers and surfers.
One of the new designs, as seen in a frame grab. This one is designed for swimmers and surfers.   (YouTube)
One of the two new designs. This one is designed for divers.
One of the two new designs. This one is designed for divers.   (YouTube)
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