Ever since a certain shark movie came out in the ’70s, the fear of sharks has become a big presence in our culture. It’s understandable; sharks look evil, and there’s a lot of media that perpetuates that image.
There’s “Shark Week” and a whole genre of shark films that pop up every other year. It’s normal to hear the Jaws theme song in your brain when you’re swimming in the depths of some beach.
While we usually hear of shark attacks occuring in the U.S., this fear is much more palpable in Australia, where authorities and people have looked for ways to cope with the amount of shark attacks. While shark attacks are rare in Australia, they’re much more deadly than in other countries. Australia also has the highest diversity of sharks and rays, roughly possessing 180 of the 509 known species.
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SharkMate is an app developed by Sam Aubin, a 15-year-old Australian who believes that he can help surfers and swimmers with his tech development. The app lets users know about the probabilities of spotting a shark on the beach on any given day.
According to Mashable, the app functions by analyzing 13 factors that determine the probabilities of sharks lurking around beaches. These factors include the presence of life guards, water temperature, historical shark data, rainfall and river mouth proximity. “We present a number out of 10 to our users, which indicates the risk level at a beach. We get this risk level from many different factors which have been proven to increase the likelihood of a shark attack,” said Aubin.
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SharkMate currently works on over 150 different beaches in Australia. The app is planning on expanding it’s services throughout the rest of the country and hopefully the US.