Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Detecting sharks with Clever Buoy

I was out surfing once, in the 1960s, at Portsea back beach on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. Another surfer suddenly called out “Shark! Shark!” and none of us hung around to verify his observation, we headed straight for the beach.

Such is our innate fear of those big toothy fish. It’s heightened by the regular (but thankfully small in number) deaths and severe maulings at beaches around Australia and the world.

Over the years I’ve listed some facts about shark (and crocodile) attacks on my website. This includes various attempts to make it safer for the general public to share the beaches with sharks.

Australia’s number 2 telco Optus has announced a project called Clever Buoy which they describe as “the world’s first shark detection buoy” and “Research & Development project between Optus, Google and Shark Attack Mitigation Systems to develop a smart ocean buoy that detects sharks and alerts lifeguards on the beach.”

It certainly looks very intriguing, nevertheless as one commenter points out (omitting the impolite bits) the scheme has at least one potential shortcoming:

“By the time life guards get the information the shark has attacked.”

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