Sixty-one-year-old Diana Nyad hopes to make history this summer by becoming the first person to swim 166 kilometers of shark-infested ocean between Cuba and the Florida Keys—without a shark cage. Nyad tried the crossing in 1978, swimming in a cage pulled by a boat. Tall waves, strong currents and bad weather kept her from succeeding.
Instead of a cage this time, she'll rely on something called Shark Shield to keep her safe during what's expected to be 60-hour swim. Sharks hunt their prey by detecting nerve impulses emitted by other living things. Shark Shield, made by a company with the same name, includes two electrodes placed in the water to create an eight-meter conductive field around the person using the device. If a shark enters the field, its sensory receptors become agitated, discouraging the shark from coming any closer.
Police and commercial divers throughout Australia use Shark Shield as part of their safety equipment. Of course, no technology is foolproof and the company that makes Shark Shield recommends that all sharks be treated with respect and caution, at all times. You don't have to tell me twice. Or even once.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]