The so-called SharkCam is actually six underwater cameras -- GoPro video cams, to be specific -- all mounted on a REMUS-100, a underwater probe. The small robotic sub is also outfitted with a navigation system, acoustic sensors, GPS, Wi-Fi, and temperature probes.
The SharkCam probe uses these instruments to record info about the environs through which it swims, and it uses its nav system and GPS to follow nearby sharks that have been previously tagged by scientists with a tracking device.
"Another system on the vehicle permits it to communicate with scientists on the surface every 10 to 20 seconds and to receive commands from the surface to change speed, depth, or other mission parameters as necessary," the WHOI website explains.
Although the SharkCam is programmed not to interfere with the animals' behavior or routines, as the video shows, the SharkCam is quickly noticed once in the vicinity of a group of sharks. Some charge it and bump it out of annoyance, while other sharks stalk if from beneath as if attacking a seal -- interpreting the cam as prey, even if only momentarily. Others simply ignore it. In the video above, one of the great whites grabs the probe and drags it through the ocean.
This particular camera survived a series of attacks, and has not just the footage but also the bite marks to prove it.
This latest video was part of research by WHOI scientists around Guadalupe Island in Mexico, but marine biologists with the organization have also been actively studying white sharks off the coast of Cape Cod. Scientists plan to use the REMUS probe and its cameras to track and film other marine mammals, like sea turtles, in the near future.
More videos captured by the SharkCam -- which Discovery has dubbed the "Jaws Strikes Back Cam" -- can be found on Discovery's Shark Week homepage.