The Jaw-some Tech Behind Shark Week
August 16, 2012 12:48 PM As Shark Week celebrates its 25th year with jaw-filled images, a slew of new technologies drive both content production and distribution.
Grabbing a Bite
Block's team released a free iOS to the app store that allows shark enthusiasts from around the world to track individual animals in real time, using data not only from acoustic tags but also a new tracking system involving wave gliders built by Liquid Robotics. These gliders can be controlled remotely and move at speeds between one and two knots per hour, allowing researchers to reposition them when a shark enters the vicinity.
The app, Kochevar said, "gives people a personal way of connecting with wildlife." It offers a map with real time updates of a specific shark's locations, and even sends a push notification to the user when one of the animals shows up near a tracking point. The app additionally includes photo-realistic 3-D models--as well photos and video--of the great whites that have been tagged.
Kochevar said sharks have individual personalities, and scientists can use dorsal fins, which are to these large fish what fingerprints are to humans, to differentiate one animal from another. By allowing users to identify particular creatures, the app grants users some insight into this individuality, somewhat erasing the longstanding perception of sharks as indistinguishable killing machines.