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Developing a shark byte

By Duncan Brake, 4th April 2016

As the popularity of apps grows and mobile technology integrates into and proliferates in today’s society, Sharks4Kids and the Save Our Seas Foundation have embarked on a mission to fuse their educational materials about sharks into a fun, interactive and user-friendly app.

BRAKEduncan - developing a shark byte

Modelling images. © Photo 3D Molier Studio

The main focus of the first build of the app is the interactive exploration of the external anatomy of sharks, focusing on a couple of different species while using some of the latest camera technology and 3D graphics to help us teach kids about these amazing creatures.

BRAKEduncan - developing a shark byte

Gates the robo shark concept. © Photo 3D Sharks4Kids

The app follows one of the Sharks4Kids characters, Gates the Robo Shark, which was originally an old, lost, underwater camera housing rebuilt and brought to life by ‘Professor Sledge’ (a great hammerhead shark).

At the start of the app you meet Gates and dive into his world as if looking through his eyes, giving you a point-of-view of how he sees the underwater world. The primary user interface focuses on a Caribbean reef shark that has various ‘hotspots’ over its body, which link to videos and facts about those parts of the shark’s anatomy.

We have also used some amazing macro footage, filmed by me and Jillian Morris with a RED EPIC 4K camera, to take a closer look at the shark’s eyes, mouth, gills, skin and more. In addition to this we are integrating some incredible movable 3D shark models into the app for children to explore. It’s really a choose-your-own-adventure format that will enable them to discover the astonishing anatomy and adaptations of sharks.

BRAKEduncan - developing a shark byte

Macro lemon shark eye. © Photo Duncan Brake

All the digital design, original artwork and video editing are being done in-house by the Sharks4Kids team, while Mike Schmidt of Kinetic Concepts is doing the integration into online platforms and mobile devices. We will be going live with the iPad version first for beta testing before adapting the app for other mobile devices and an online version. Most of the back-end programming for the app has been completed; now we have the tricky task of fusing all the digital content into the app and making sure it works and re-sizes correctly across digital platforms.

BRAKEduncan - developing a shark byte

Opening Sequence of the App. © Photo Sharks4Kids

We are very excited to see this app grow and after its initial release, we hope to do biannual updates with new technology and to introduce the next build, which will go into the internal anatomy of sharks. When we launch the app we are planning for it to be free, so that any child across the world who has access to the Internet or a mobile device can learn and get excited about sharks!

If you are interested in becoming part of our beta testing group for iPad, please e-mail us at with ‘Beta testing’ in the subject line.

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