07 October 2005

Cousteau's contraption to get close to sharks

With its fearsome jaws and teeth, the perfect predator of the deep is complete in every respect, including a diver which the "great white" has apparently swallowed whole.

In the deep-sea world of the Cousteau dynasty, nothing is what it seems, least of all a "Trojan" shark created by the grandson of Jacques, the legendary marine explorer.

Fabien Cousteau's passion for sharks has driven him to literally get alongside them by pretending to be a shark himself inside a £115,000 fake fish.

The mechanical shark is indistinguishable from the real thing, but it owes less to Jaws than to his childhood hero Tintin, the Belgian comicbook character created by Hergé. Cousteau had the idea for a shark submersible after reading how the boy detective utilised such a device in an adventure.

The explorer's version is in the interests of research, filling in blanks in scientific knowledge.

Cousteau's robotic fish can get him closer to the predator than has ever been possible before. Built from steel and plastic, the 14ft-long fish was created by a Hollywood prop expert.

"The whole point is to fool [the sharks] into thinking I am a shark," said the underwater explorer.

Cousteau's contraption is covered with Skinflex, a malleable material mixed with glass beads and sand to simulate the texture of shark skin.

The head swings open on hinges to allow Cousteau to enter the body. There he lies flat, holding a joystick in each hand to control speed and direction.

Source: news.scotsman.com


At 5:36 AM, Blogger Murky Thoughts said...

I can't believe nobody in the media has made mention of the smarter brother Voltaire


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