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Tweeting Sharks: A new technology to prevent shark attacks in Australia

In an effort to increase public safety at beaches around Australia, scientists have attached transmitters to hundreds of sharks, including great whites, in order to track their movements.

Here’s how it works: When a shark swims within a kilometer of a populated beach area the transmitters send a signal that is linked up to a computer which sends a tweet from Surf Life Saving Western Australia’s (@SLSWA) Twitter feed, warning followers of its current location. The tweet also gives the size and breed of the shark, and its approximate location.

Here’s the latest tweet from @SLSWA warning beachgoers of a tiger shark at Warnbro Sound.

The only problem, if you’re not on twitter or follow @SLWA it’s not too useful. But he application is there for many local governments to take advantage of the new technology.

Think about it: Local beaches could set up systems to say, change a digital flag to a certain color warning people on the beach a shark is near. Or, send out an audible signal down the beach. This is especially true if you forgot to bring your phone or keep it stashed away from sand and water.

But everyone can agree this idea beats out any old school ways of tracking sharks and spreading word to the public. Current system can take up to a day to warn people of a nearby shark, which is old news by the time it breaks.

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