Scientists equip sharks with wearable cameras


Sure, Sharknado and Sharktopus are fun to watch with friends on a weekend, but they also prove that sharks still get a bad rap. Clearly, what we’ve learned about the animal’s behavior since Jaws came out isn’t nearly enough, so a group of researchers are attempting to find out more… by strapping a bunch of gadgets to a bunch of sharks. Think of these things as a combination of a GoPro and asportsband, they’re equipped with sensors and cameras that monitor and video a shark’s adventures.

2014 may be “the year of wearables” but sharks probably won’t be Google or Fitbit’s next target audience, despite groundbreaking new research by the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and the University of Tokyo to see exactly what the fearsome predators get up to. While sharks may be well known for inspiring terror in movies like Jaws, scientists actually know relatively little about their underwater lives. Now, thanks to what’s described as “flight data recorders for sharks” the researchers have been able to fill in some of the gaps in knowledge. Sharks of various different species have been targeted by the teams, and fitted with high-accuracy sensor packs. These include high-res tri-axial accerometer-magnetometer data loggers, and compact video cameras, which are strapped to the shark’s body.

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