Shark tracking gadgets could revolutionize the way you get your weather forecast.

The Shark Lab at California University State Long Beach created a solar-power buoy that tracks sharks in real-time. 

What You Need To Know

  • Gadgets tracking sharks could expand weather forecasting
  • Live buoys track environmental and oceanic data
  • A machine-learning algorithm can sort through drone footage in minutes
  • You can have a daily shark forecast in five years

The Shark Lab calls their creation a “live buoy.” They make their buoys with cell receivers and solar panels.

The buoys could also help us learn more about our environment and weather.

CSULB Shark Lab

Dr. Chris Lowe, who is the Director of the Shark Lab, told Spectrum Networks the buoys could have many uses besides studying marine life.

“We get environmental data. We get sea temperature, we get sea floor water temperature, we get wave activity, we get air temperature and we can equip them with all sorts of other ocean sensors.”

Drone technology

After innovating this new technology, the Shark Lab is partnering with California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, to use drones and a new algorithm to enhance their tracking of sharks.

Computer Science and Software Engineering students at Cal Poly developed a machine-learning algorithm that could go through thousands of hours of drone footage.

They hope to identify sharks and people and distinguish them between surfers, swimmers and others.

“By using this tool we can figure out when sharks are mostly likely to be close to people and water user their going to be close to… and does that vary depending on environmental conditions.”

Before it would take the Shark Lab hours and hours to go through the footage and spot the sharks. Now, that process takes minutes.

Forecasting sharks?

Dr. Lowe told us drones and buoys could expand the weather forecasting beyond tracking storms or unusual weather.

Technology is becoming so advanced, meteorologists may also do shark forecast in their local markets.

“We can predict wave height. The weather does that all the time. But what if in the future we have shark forecasts? So what if we’re able to use this data to make predictions on when sharks are mostly likely going to be close to people based not only on shark’s behavior but on human behavior?”

CSULB Shark Lab

He says the key is using the technology we have now like buoys, drones and satellites and correlate it environmental conditions.

“We get really good environmental data that enables us to predict when we’re going to get a good swell or if there’s going to be strong rip currents. If we can correlate those environmental conditions to shark occurrences, then we can give people stingray warnings and shark warnings.”

Dr. Lowe told us the possibility of a meteorologist giving a shark or stingray warning could happen in the next five years. 


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