Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Shark Eye Takes Flight; Aerial Device Can Detect Sharks Up to 7m

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Shark Eye Takes Flight; Aerial Device Can Detect Sharks Up to 7m

Article excerpt

Byline: Hamish Broome hamish.broome@northernstar.com.au

A CLASSIFIED US military surveillance camera first developed during the Cold War to spot Russian submarines could be the silver bullet to the shark problem engulfing the Far North Coast.

A West Australian company with a track record of researching shark detection devices has sourced the high-tech device from a mystery US military contractor and developed it for shark spotting in Australian waters.

Dubbed the Shark Eye, it is a turret which can be attached to the underside of a plane, with five rotating lenses capable of taking seven photos every second.

Michael Mallis is the CEO of the Perth based company Sharkalert.net, which sourced the technology.

Mr Mallis said the $500,000 device could spot a shark in water up to 7m deep, while scanning more than 700 sq km of coastline per day from an altitude of 365m.

Sharkalert commissioned a report from ASX-listed environmental consultancy Cardno, which sent researchers to the US and found the device had a 100% success rate. It has also been backed by Bond University shark attack specialist Dr Darryl McPhee.

The sophisticated software operating the camera can be calibrated to detect different objects, Mr Mallis explained.

"We've actually customised the camera to look deep into the water to detect sharks. It's all about detecting sharks, nothing else," he said.

"We can sweep vast amount of ocean down to a previously impossible depth.

"We've got specific targeting software which actually puts a red square around the shark when it sees it."

A free app would transmit shark alerts to users' iPhones in a specified area.

"We've also got a (water safe) wristband in design which is a 3G smart watch which can pick up the app and tell you whether there is a shark within a kilometre of you," Mr Mallis said. …

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