A SharkPOD is a football
sized electrical shark repeller
, used to deter shark
s from attacking the wearer when they are in the water, and preventing any Deep Blue Sea
scenarios from occuring.
Invented in South Africa in 1995 and intended for use within the SCUBA community (merely due to its size making it impractical for anyone else to use), the SharkPOD (Personal Oceanic Device) works by emitting a field of electrical charge through the water from a pair of electrodes (one on the foot and one on the body, controlled by a wrist mounted unit). Running for 75 minutes from one 12v battery the device has been shown to deter most species of shark from attacking, or even entering a 2 metre 'zone of protection' around the diver.
The reason it works is down to the way sharks use electrical impulses to detect their prey. Due to this method of hunting, sharks are very sensitive to electrical fields. Pores situated on the shark's snout enable it to detect electrical signals of an extremely low voltage. For example, if a field could be generated by an ordinary torch battery with electrodes 1600 kms apart, the shark would be able to detect it. The field being detected is measured at 100 millionth of a volt per cm, so the effect of sticking a SharkPOD in the water next to one of these creatures has a similar effect as putting your head next to an air-raid siren i.e. causes extreme discomfort to all concerned and makes you run (or swim) a mile.
SharkPODs are in use by over 200 professional divers, and 50 units were recently used to protect competitors in the swimming leg of the Triathlon at the Sydney Olympics. The device itself is now being adapted so that it fits in a pair of smaller casings, each about the size of a cigerette pack, but has the same functionality as the current bulky unit, so that it becomes practical for swimmers and snorklers to wear them. Once this has been achieved there are plans to build the unit into surfboards and lifejackets.
Any enquires should be directed to the SharkPOD website, available at www.sharkpod.co.za