May 4, 2012
Frickin’ Sharks With Frickin’ Lasers On Their Frickin’ Heads!
Michael Harper for RedOrbit.com
The movies are often a source of inspiration for new gadgets, pushing the current realm of possibility to its breaking point.
But, as it often does, the world can work in some tricky ways, and the “meme," early as it was, of “Sharks with frickin´ lasers” quickly became an oft-quoted dream.
The idea works cinematically, of course, because “laser sharks” do sound quite terrifying, if not a little poorly thought out. After all, how does a shark aim such a laser?
Damning these logistics, Australian marine biologist and TV-host Luke Tipple has just made Austin Powers fans remember why those loved the movies so much, attaching a laser via clamp to a shark´s dorsal fin.
Working with Hong Kong company “Wicked Lasers” (an apt name) Tipple used a special, non-invasive clamp to mount the underwater laser to the top of the shark.
Not quite the head, but hey, it´s close enough.
Tipple has been working with sharks for most of his career, therefore he was a prime candidate to work with these creatures. Using a shark-fin clamp he´s been developing to attach cameras to the sharks, Tipple was able to finally make Dr. Evil´s dreams come true during a Bahamian dive this past April.
“As I lurched toward him, he naturally floated away,” said Tipple, according to Time NewsFeed. In the end, Tipple was able to attach the laser which didn´t hurt or bother the shark in any way. Tipple made sure of it.
Believe it or not, there is some science involved in this odd predator-meets-futuristic-device hybrid.
According to his blog, Tipple writes, “I was quite interested in seeing if we could use a laser to measure actual body contortions and posturing while a shark was in its final approach to a stimulus source. Is there for example a measurable difference in how it behaves on approach to a splashing human verses a floundering sea mammal, a wounded fish verses a chum box? It's the minutia of shark behavior that often fascinates me and I figured, why not give this a shot?”
Not everyone is so excited to see Tipple bring this piece of pop culture to life, however.
Steven Campana, head of the Canadian Shark Research Laboratory, worries this kind of stunt will inspire others to do the same thing. Speaking to Postmedia News , Campana said, "If there was a valid scientific purpose here, it would be different.”
“We attach satellite tags that provide valuable information for shark conservation. A laser would not help."
For his part, Tipple seems to really care about the animals and their study as well as conservation.
“Everything I´m involved with has to be ethical and justifiable,” says Tipple, who initially rejected Wicked Lasers´ request to create the Mike Myers fantasy beast.
After working with the laser maker, Tipples says he was able to take a more scientific approach to the stunt.
“I would test a non-invasive attachment method and I'd also send the company footage of his laser in return for funding the research,” Tipple writes.
“A pretty fair trade in my books.”
So, while this seems like more of a stunt than an actual product available for sale from ThinkGeek.com, we may have to wait a little longer for the real thing to take place. Until then, I guess we´ll have to settle for ill-tempered Sea Bass.