Ghost Diver: How this inventor used technology to swim freely with great white sharks
Sport and Outdoors
If you've ever been in the ocean, hell, if you've ever even seen Jaws, you've thought about them.
I'm talking about great white sharks.
Now most of us probably try to keep our distance from them.
But not Andrew Mayne, thanks to his creation here.
This is ghost diver.
Andrew, what are we looking at here?
This is basically an underwater stealth suit designed to allow me to get up close with great white sharks and other big sharks.
You wore the suit in the water with great whites.
Not in the cage.
No cage, no cage.
Okay so then I think, I guess my next question, I think everyone probably would wanna know is are you [BLEEP] crazy?
Yeah, it's one of those things where you start off with, it'd be cool, what if I could?
Cuz my background was in magic, right?
And designing illusions and I But what would be cooler than fooling a person would be fooling a really smart animal.
What's really a great hunter, a great white.
How would you fool a great white?
By not getting eaten.
That'd be great.
And then I thought, okay, how would I do this?
It's not like I'm gonna go down there and do card tricks for them and That evolved into some background working in camouflage and techniques and stuff and seeing what kind of fly that and figure out how to build a stealth technology that will be great whites and then next thing you know you find yourself 80 feet underwater surrounded by great whites going.
How the hell did this happen?
And I mean, this wasn't just a stunt.
I mean, this was for a TV show right?
So this is for Shark Week.
I have a special coming out called Andrew Mayne Ghost Diver.
So I went to Discovery and I said, hey, I have some ideas for how to use illusion technology and deception that might work with great white sharks.
They're like, great.
Will you test it out in the water with the great whites?
And I'm like Sure, a smart, rational person would say no to that.
But it was an opportunity of a lifetime.
It was amazing.
Smart, rational people typically aren't the ones who end up with specials on TV.
So I think that works out.
It takes a special kind of idiot, right here.
Let's talk about the suit, then.
You said you incorporated some of your magic.
And some of the background you already know about sharks.
So what's the technology behind your How does it work?
First off, we had to start off by understanding how great white sense things they're extremely visual.
We know they have a credible olfactory sense.
We know that they can pick up electrical impulses, extremely, extremely good at picking up sounds among other things.
So, It started saying, okay.
If I want to limit my profile under water or if I want to make myself invisible to a great white I've gotta address all of those things.
And I played in a couple of fun technologies.
One was a suit using LED all over my entire body with cameras that would actually mimic the background.
And then once I realized that.
I needed something that was gonna be a little more stealthy, a little more agile because sharks, very good at picking up sound, I realized that what I need to do is figure out the visual part but don't get hung up on thinking that it's just a matter of making yourself invisible.
So then I got into realizing that I need to use materials instead of a neoprym, which makes a little bit of noise as water goes by.
Hard to hear, but it does Using a very slick material so that water would glide past me, and then using sound dampening things.
The purpose of this foam here is actually to keep this from banging into itself and making sounds.
Because if you're under water, sharks can hear clanking, they can hear scuba tanks, all these things.
So I had to have A number of ways to sort of mitigate the sound.
The visual component, what this came down to, this is a special material that reflects light in certain ways.
So if I'm under water, let's say 80 feet under water and I wanna blend in with the background, I would use lighting on the suit to help me match the background.
So kind of like a ninja costume.
Ninja in the dark, this would be underwater.
I had to go through, besides just talking to shark experts and learning how to interact with sharks, we breather train.
What that is, it's a system that takes your, as you breath out and it takes the CO2 from your air And it's scrubs and it basically uses you know lime to do this and takes the CO2 out and then basically allows you to breathe your oxygen back in.
The real advantage every breeder is they are quiet.
Instead of a scuba tank we have this regulator that sounds like you're filling a car tire every 10 seconds.
Rebuild are extremely quiet.
The final testing complete.
Andrew is ready to reveal his design.
I'm calling the suit Ghost Diver.
This isn't an Iron Man suit of armor.
This isn't gonna protect you if you get attacked by a shark, right?
Yeah, no, I would be dead.
So the funny thing is just you're wearing this, and you kinda feel cool like I've got armor on.
A shark would tear through this in a second.
The strongest part of the suit is actually the shield, which, that's a thick plastic.
But if a great white wanted to chew through that, he could do that, too.
But that had to be lightweight, and allow me to sort of, when they got very curious, then that was the purpose of that was, touch the surface there.
Great whites have bumped up against there.
I don't wanna give anything away But you obviously didn't die.
What was it like being down there going face to face with a great white shark knowing you didn't have that protection?
When I first started this I'm like, I'll have a team of people out a bunch of expert shark divers and bodyguards and stuff.
None of that happened.
We got down to the very bottom in our stand the first moment we got into the water in this thing.
I opened up to clear my mask there is a great Whale/s, it's like 10 feet away it's staring at me like.
What are you doing idiot?
And that's it was cool, it was really need experience cuz [UNKNOWN] looking at you.
And you know those sort of sharky kinda grins where they're kinda like that?
And he got that, it wasn't like [SOUND] I'm gonna nom on you.
We go a little bit further down, and then I hear, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, and I look up, and there's a great white chewing on the edge of the submersible.
We've all had that feeling, getting in the water and, crap, something just brushed up against my foot, what is that?
So We have this fascination slash fear with sharks, where do you think that comes from?
We think of a lot of our experiences and fear from sharks often come from when we're swimming.
We're heads are above water and our bodies are in this very vulnerable space below and we can't see what's going on there Movies like Jaws, amazing movie, but you watch that and you don't want to go stand in a puddle.
And so I think that reinforces this.
You look at the shark's mouth, it's ferocious looking.
And I understand you've designed your own VR demo as well.
So To better acclimate yourself for that experience.
What I wanted to do was I built the simulator so it would allow me to just go pretend I'm under water.
And then I had the sharks were programmed to behave like how those [UNKNOWN] great whites did.
They're swimming around you and they're looking at you, and if you don't pay attention to them, They sneak up on you and that's when you've got a turnaround and you have a shield like I had to use the shield to block them and that was scary and I had a button where you add sharks and then I have a button to take away sharks.
It was more scary doing that than actually being there with the great whites.
Ghost Diver airs when?
So Andrew been ghost diver airs August 2 at 9 PM on On Shark Week on Discovery.
Fantastic make sure to check that out, and Jermaine thank you very much.
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