Hi-tech bracelet for swimmers, surfers repels sharks

LOS ANGELES -- The rise of shark sightings around Southern California has many people on edge, but a new invention is on the market to keep sharks at bay.

The shark-repellant devices are called Shark Bands. They are designed to target sharks' electrical sensing abilities.

"It tells a curious shark that you're not food," Sharkbanz co-founder Nathan Garrison said. "Shark Bands is a product that uses really powerful permanent magnets to generate a field that disrupts a shark's electrical sense. So when they come near this device, it disrupts that sense in a way that is really unpleasant for it. It's sort of like having super bright light shine in your eyes in a dark room."

How effective is the device? The inventors recorded a test where they place a dummy equipped with a Sharkbanz on a surfboard floating in a shark-infested cove. They filled the boot of the dummy with fresh fish bait and then recorded what happened. The sharks made repeated passes at the boot, attracted by the bait, but as they got closer, they suddenly veered away from the dummy, repelled by the Shark Band's magnetic field.

When they tried the same experiment without the Sharkbanz, a shark bit off the bait-filled boot in less than two minutes.

"Commercial fishermen use longlines to catch all of the fish we eat. This technology was originally developed to keep sharks from biting the hooks, so fishermen would only catch the fish they wanted to catch."

Swimmers and surfers who saw the device reacted very favorably.

"I think this is really great for surfers," one said. "It's like an Apple watch that repels sharks!"

The device is available for $69. You can get more information on Sharkbanz the company's website.