Friday, 4 May 2012

Luke Tipple lives Dr. Evil dream, attaches laser to shark

Dr. Evil’s super villain dream to weaponized a shark with — you got it — lasers has finally come true. Luke Tipple, a marine biologist who has made appearances on the Discovery Channel during shark week, is the man responsible for this nerdy stunt. The lasers were supplied by Wicked Lasers, a Hong Kong-based company that manufactures some of the most powerful handheld lasers available on the consumer market.

Tipple confessed to Wired recently that he initially turned down Wicked Laser, thinking the entire opportunity a waste of time. But after some consideration, he realized the laser stunt gave him an opportunity to test out a new fin clamp, and explore some anecdotal tests on how sharks react to certain spectrum of lasers.

So, Tipple attached the laser to a Lemon shark. It was secured to the shark’s dorsal fin via a clamping contraption Tipple created with special gel pads to hold the clamp on. But the most exciting aspect of the clamp is the zinc spring-loaded device that corrodes over a month’s time, so the shark isn’t stuck with a laser beam or some other attachment for the rest of its life.

The laser used during the stunt was the lowest-powered version of Wicked Laser’s S3 Krypton green model. According to Wired, most lasers (predominantly used by cat owners) have beams that measure 2mW. This one measured a whopping 50mW, which isn’t enough to kill a secret agent, but it might blind you.

Even though Tipple may have been able to do some anecdotal testing with the laser and his clamp, it would seem that most the marine biology scholars were not amused by the stunt. Saying that it wasn’t respectful to the shark, and had the little Lemon made off with it, it might pose a risk to its safety and ability to stalk prey.

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