It’s SHARK WEEK: Watch for UArizona professor’s invention to be underwater with the hammerheads

Custom tent just for Shark Week

Does any entrepreneur ever expect their invention to be … shark bait?

Probably not … unless the whole purpose of it is to get up close and personal with sharks in their natural habitat.

On Sunday, a University of Arizona professor will be watching his Ocean Space Habitat underwater with some hammerheads on “The Great Hammerhead Stakeout” as part of Shark Week on Discovery+. 

The portable and inflatable underwater tent, which was co-invented by UArizona professor Winslow Burleson and professional diver Michael Lombardi, allows occupants to basically camp out underwater.

Burleson, who helped invent the technology for the tent while working at NYU, told UArizona that Ocean Space Habitat being used for first-of-its-kind hammerhead research on Shark Week is definitely one of the highlights of the company so far. 

The tent provides a relatively dry and protected underwater area for divers to enter, remove equipment, and complete tasks before returning to the surface. This allows for deep scientific diving, as well as the ability to conduct long-term observation of wildlife behavior and conduct science experiments before surfacing.

The tent can provide adequate life support for two occupants through an overnight stay. 

The Ocean Space Habitat has been used for underwater deployments for 10 years, and is now being seen as a viable scientific tool.

“The underwater value is analogous to a backpacking excursion — we certainly learn more from an overnight in the environment than a short walk in the park,” Lombardi told UArizona. “That step has not yet been taken in the underwater world in an affordable and accessible way for the masses.”

Would you stay overnight in the water knowing sharks swirled around you in the name of scientific research?