A fleet of self-propelled surfboards loaded with electronics is now helping researchers track great white sharks off the coast of California.
The solar powered network of floating robots will essentially create hot spots to track already-tagged sharks, whales and other predators in the Pacific and then transmit their location to land-based researchers, according to BBC Nature.
And the information can actually be viewed on a new app called "Shark Net."
"Across the planet, the goal of oceanographers and biologists alike is to observe the ocean in as much detail as possible," shark expert and project leader professor Barbara Block from Stanford University told the BBC.
The yellow surfboards carry monitoring systems below the water level that pick up acoustic signals from the many sharks that have been tagged.
When a shark or other animal that has been tagged is near the robot, the animal's position is recorded and relayed back to the research team.
In the first week of its release the team reported the surfboard robot has picked up five great white sharks, the BBC reported.
Time magazine reports on the downloadable Shark Net app:
[It] allows people to monitor and learn about great whites researchers have been studying for years. ... There are photos and even a 3-D model of each shark, so users can explore their distinct scars and dorsal fin patterns. Users can even sign up for alerts that will let them know when a buoy detects a specific shark. In addition to tracking the sharks in real time, the app provides historical data on sharks, so users can see the routes they've traveled over time.
- Technology & Electronics
- great white sharks