It's a hard thing being a shark conservationist as people don't get why you'd want to help preserve something that gets in the way of us enjoying the ocean...by trying to eat us. If it was just deep seas it wouldn't be a problem but with sharks roving near beaches and reefs, what's a hapless ocean lover to do?
Truth be told, sharks don't go looking for human Happy Meals. It's a case of mistaken identity when they attack surfers, mistaking them for their usual prey like other fish or seals. So Hamish Jolly and Craig Anderson decided to help protect sharks and divers by working with The Oceans Institute at the University of Western Australia. Together they came up with two wetsuits that will help divers avoid being attacked by sharks, giving less incentive for people to kill the majestic, though deadly predators.
Fish are friends, not diners
One websuit created for surfers, the Diverter is marked with dark blue and white-striped to repel sharks, making them look like animals that a shark wouldn't ordinarily go for like pilotfish.
The other websuit, the Elude works on a different principle - blending into the water in such a way a shark finds it hard to see you apart from the environment when you're wearing it, so a shark would be less likely to attack what it cannot recognise as food.
Typical wetsuits, dark and sleek, might make diving easier but often lead to sharks mistaking wetsuit wearers for seals.
A plus point is that the wetsuits are pretty stylish-looking, with patterns that impact sharks' vision while remaining easy on the eyes.
As the weather warms, shark attacks near the beaches have doubled as Western Australia will attest and it's estimated that the US beaches will also see more attacks in the summer. Better websuits could help stave off attacks or at least give divers, snorkellers and surfers enough time to get away from a shark once sighted.
Speaking of wearable tech protection, the US army is taking it a step further by building its very own Iron Man.