LED Light-Up Surfboards could help Prevent Shark Attacks

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A group of Australian scientists found that LED lights installed on the bottom of a surfboard could help avoid shark attacks on surfers

Team of researchers in Australia found a way to make ocean safe for surfers. It involves the LED, which is attached as part of a set to the underside of a surfboard, helps to hide the surfer’s silhouette from nearby sharks that would otherwise spot them across the water. Trails of the test showed that using seal-shaped decoys with built-in lights revealed that sharks stayed away from their potential prey.

“We tried to use lights as a strategy of counter-illumination. It breaks up the surfer’s silhouette making it much less enticing for the shark to investigate,” said Nathan Hart, associate professor of Biological Sciences at the Macquarie University, in Australia. According to the comparative neurobiologist, the idea was inspired by a strategy already used by midwater fish when trying to avoid predators swimming below them. “These fish have light-emitting organs on their underside, which put out light and help them to camouflage themselves from the light coming from above.”

However, Hart, who has already worked with several entities in the development of camouflage wetsuits, notes that you can’t simply turn on a LED light under your surfboard. “There are specific patterns and brightness levels that you need to use, so I’d caution against surfers just putting anything on the bottom of their board,” mentioned Hart. Although the new and unusual shark deterrent mechanism has been successfully tested with great white sharks, the team plans to continue their experimentations with other species. Furthermore, a commercial surfboard with a built-in lighting system, as well as specially designed wetsuits for surfers and divers will be released in near feature.

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