The SharkEye system uses a camera mounted on a blimp to send alerts direct to people wearing smart watches in the water.

Researchers at the University of Wollongong used a Shark Management Strategy grant from the NSW Department of Primary Industries to develop an algorithm capable of recognising shark shapes in the water and to tell people nearby via an app. SharkEye utilises this algorithm and brings together a range of monitoring projects in the region.

The SharkEye platform represents years of work from multiple shark monitoring projects that have been developed across the region.

The aerial image acquisition utilised as part of SharkEye, was developed by Kye Adams a doctoral student in the UOW biology department, on the Aerial Inflatable Remote Shark Human Interaction Prevention blimp or Project AIRSHIP for short. Mr Adams, who also works as a lifeguard, has operated the blimp for the last two summers over Kiama with support from Kiama Municipal Council to understand shark activity.

The SharkMate app (available in the Apple app store for iPhone) is also utilised as part of SharkEye as the notification hub for the project. The app was developed by an Illawarra teenager, Sam Aubin. Sam started developing his app at the age of 13 as a means of promoting shark conservation and to increase the public’s knowledge of shark locations. The app uses a range of real-time data – air temperature, water temperature, time of day, the presence of lifesavers and the proximity to wastewater treatment plants – to predict the likelihood of a shark attack.

The two technologies were connected to an algorithm for real-time automatic shark detection trained on images collected by the blimp, which was developed by UOW’s Advanced Multimedia Research Lab (AMRL) led by Professor Wanqing Li, an expert in computer vision and machine learning.

Dr Matthew Berryman Honorary Senior Fellow at the SMART Infrastructure Facility and CEO of Across the Cloud, architected the cloud platform and integrated the hardware and software components together.

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