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Australian researchers unveil 'shark-proof' wetsuits

Posted By CAROLINE LEE, UPI.com   |   July 25, 2013 at 9:11 AM   |   Comments

July 25 (UPI) -- Unfortunately, shark-proof wetsuits are not made up of some magic fiber that repels sharks.

Australian researchers have come up with the first shark-proof wetsuits nevertheless, using visual tricks to ward off the toothy terrors. After a spike in Australian shark attacks, scientists from the University of Western Australia teamed up with designers from Shark Attack Mitigation Systems to create a $500 suit.

The suit for surfers and swimmers has black-and-white stripes, which warns sharks to stay away from potentially poisonous prey.

"Many animals are repelled by a striped pattern which indicates the potential prey is unsafe to eat," said researcher Shaun Collin.

The other suit, designed for divers, is solid blue, making the wearer functionally invisible to sharks.

The researchers tested the suits on dummies placed in tiger-shark-infested waters. Those wearing traditional black wetsuits were attacked, while wearers of the new suits were ignored.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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