SURF7 promises safer seas for surfers by exploiting sharks' sensory systems to keep them at bay

Aussie pro-surfer and now-famous shark attack survivor Mick Fanning need not ditch his trademark “yum yum yellow” surfboard. Turns out, sharks can be shooed away using devices like those supplied by Shark Shield that can easily be embedded onto surfboards or diving gear. These gizmos give surrounding water a jolt which acts like a stun grenade for sharks, deterring them from potentially attacking surfers.

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To understand how they work, we must first consider shark anatomy.

Just above a shark’s mouth is a network of jelly-filled canals called ampullae of Lorenzini. These body parts are sensitive to electric fields in the water, helping sharks map out oceanic currents and temperature gradients. Sharks also use this ultra-sensitive network to hunt, sniffing faint electrical discharge from muscular movement of other animals.

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