Samuel Aubin, a 15 year old Australian, is developing the first app to tell you the likelihood that you’ll be attacked by a shark. The app is called SharkMate, and uses in depth historical and real time data to rank your chances of making it home from the beach unscathed.
Sharkmate takes into account 13 different factors known to influence shark attacks like life guards, water temperature, rain, river mouth proximity, and historical shark attack data. It then crunches the numbers and gives you a 1 to 10 score for the day. The app is being developed in conjunction with the University of Wollongong and their Project Airship program to include real time shark monitoring. A trial run at Kiama’s Surf Beach was successfully able to spot a shark from the air and send notifications to the app. Pretty cool stuff.
It’s hard to argue that SharkMate isn’t an impressive combination of technology and data analysis, but is it really needed? On average there are only 83 shark attacks and 6 fatalities worldwide each year. If you end up as one of those 6, you likely just walked under a ladder and broke a mirror as a black cat walked by. Dying from a lightning strike, drowning, or car accident is far more likely. If you’re that scared of sharks, you should probably just stay on the beach and out of the ocean.
Right now the app is set up for 150 beaches down under, with hopes to expand to the U.S. in the future. Aubin hopes the app will raise awareness that Sharks are valuable parts of the oceans ecosystem, and not cold blooded monsters. The fact that there is a shark attack app seems to send the opposite message, but still impressive work from a 15 year old.
Only time will tell if the app is accurate and helps save lives. Hopefully it does!