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Shark Pod diving protection unit case

Date: 1956-1995
Overall: 480 x 260 x 155 mm, 1051 g
Medium: Fabric, plastic
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Ron and Valerie Taylor
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Case
Object No: 00049448

User Terms

    A canvas case for a Shark Pod diving protection unit. Shark Pod units were manufactured by Pod Holdings, Natal, South Africa and used by Ron and Valerie Taylor during their underwater filming and photographic expeditions in the early 1990's.
    Sharks have jelly filled pores known as Ampullae of lorenzini on their snout. These pores act as a sensing organ or 'electroreceptor' and pick up electromagnetic fields in the water which enables them to detect the movement of potential prey.
    Once these receptors were recognized developments began in the early 1990's which focused on ways to use electricity to dispel sharks by emitting electrical waves that were unpleasant to them and caused them discomfort but no harm. Shark POD, developed with the Natal Sharks Board of South Africa, was the first to use this type of technology to protect divers who could wear the unit whilst in the water.
    SignificanceThis Shark Pod case comes from the collection of Ron and Valerie Taylor who were household names in Australia in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The Taylors have been honoured both nationally and internationally for their pioneering underwater photography and films and their dedication to marine conservation.
    HistoryIn the late 1980s and early 1990s scientists from the Natal Sharks Board in South Africa discovered an electronic wave-form that deterred sharks, but did not affect any other forms of marine life. The field is projected by two electrodes which create an elliptical field that surrounds the users.

    The electronic field is detected by the shark through its sensory receptors, known as the Ampullae of Lorenzini, which are found on the snouts of many sharks. Once detected by the shark, the electronic field causes mild discomfort and muscular spasms resulting in the shark being deterred from the area.

    Ron and Valerie Taylor worked with the Natal Shark Board and its researchers testing the original prototypes with great success in the late 1980s. However the primary inventor of the unit disagreed with the Shark Board over the commercialisation of his invention and subsequently left the Board taking most of his research with him. Undeterred, after further research, the technology was developed and commercialised into the 'Shark Pod' which was manufactured under license from the Natal Shark Board by a company in South Australia.

    After additional research and development the company changed its name in 1999 to Seachange Technology and in 2002 released a lighter, more powerful unit called the Shark Shield and stopped production of the Shark Pod.

    Because of their original role in the testing of the prototypes the Taylor's were given a number of first generation Shark Pods to test. But ,according to the Taylor's, whilst the first proto type units produced by the Natal Shark Board were extremely powerful and effective, following the loss of the original research material and principle scientist, the commercially available Shark Pod were far less effective and after a series of field trials the Taylor's decided not to use the units.

    The concept of the unit is as follows:
    "The SHARK POD Diver Unit (Protective Oceanic Device), designed for use by divers in salt water, is the words first successful electronic shark repellent. When used properly, the system poses no danger to the diver, sharks or the environment.

    The SHARK POD Diver Unit has proved its effectiveness in repelling sharks in years of testing and development.
    It consists of three main components (Main Body, Hand Switch and Foot Probe) all linked by cables.
    The Main Body itself is attached to the air cylinder, the Foot Probe to a fin and the Hand Switch to a convenient strap or webbing on the diver's Buoyancy Compensator (or other gear).
    Being separated by at least 1.5 meters, the Foot Probe and Main Body electrodes form an elliptical electrical field around the diver which repels sharks at a distance of between 3 and 7 meters. The sharks are repelled because they are averse to electrical fields such as that generated by the SHARK POD Diver Unit.
    The electrical field generated by the SHARK POD Diver Unit may be detected by humans but will not cause any adverse effects or discomfort to the diver when used correctly.
    The SHARK POD Diver Unit is supplied with a Battery Charger and one Battery Pack, both of which have been specially developed for the SHARK POD Diver Unit. It is vital to follow the instructions in this manual to ensure optimum performance from the equipment. Battery Pack condition will affect the field strength and penetration at the outer limits of the field.
    This equipment is designed for use in salt water only. "

    Additional Titles

    Web title: Shark Pod diving protection unit case

    Collection title: Ron and Valerie Taylor collection

    Assigned title: Shark Pod diving protection unit case

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