Light Friday: A Wetsuit That Repels Sharks

August 2, 2013

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Shark attacks are the bane of many an avid scuba diver or surfer. But a research team from Australia has found a way that they claim will significantly reduce the likelihood of being attacked by these vicious predators of the ocean.

Using new discoveries about shark eyesight and perception, entrepreneurs Hamish Jolly and Craig Anderson, in conjunction with University of Western Australia's (UWA) Oceans Institute, developed a line of wetsuits that make swimmers either invisible to or unappetizing to sharks.

The team developed two main designs. “Elude” uses blue-and-white patterns that take advantage of limitations in shark vision to render divers and snorkelers essentially invisible. “Diverter,” which features bold black-and-white patterns, mimics signals in nature that tell the shark the wearer is “unpalatable.” It is designed primarily for surfers.

"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," said Collin.

Wetsuit manufacturer Radiator has licensed the technology and is taking pre-orders now.


Klutz-Proof Skateboard Balances for You

For those of us that have trouble so much as standing on a skateboard, let alone pulling off a sick ollie, one man has developed a board that pretty much does the balancing for you. John Dingley engineered and built a board that stabilizes itself by keeping its wheels under your center of gravity at all times, similar to a Segway, but slightly less dorky-looking.

The board was constructed using a combination of pneumatic tires, a gyroscope, an Arduino board, and various accelerometer sensors. The best part is that it can be steered using a Nintendo Wii remote.

Check out the video below of the board in action (sort of). (H/T TechHive.)


Where is the True North Pole?

The question of where Santa Claus lives just got a little trickier. Of course, we all know the Jolly Ol’ Elf lives in the North Pole. But just where is the North Pole? Apparently, it depends on what you mean.

The truth is, there are three North Poles -- a geographic north, a magnetic north, and a geomagnetic north. Complicating things further is that the poles are constantly moving. Minute Physics explains more.


Technology Allows for Life Without a Heartbeat

A GE Forward Focus documentary tells the story of two Texas heart surgeons that have developed a way to fully replace a human heart with an electric pump. Unlike a normal heart, the pumps do not “beat,” and instead allow for a continuous flow of blood through the body.

After conducting trials on animals, Dr. Billy Cohn and Dr. Bud Frazier made the decision to try the device in a human, 55-year-old Craig Lewis, who would have died within 48 hours otherwise. As it was, Lewis lived for five weeks before succumbing to other ailments.

You can see the entire four-minute documentary below.



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