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Acid-spewing bug inspires ATM defense

Posted on Friday, 9 May, 2014 | Comment icon 9 comments

A bombardier beetle. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.5 Patrick Coin

Researchers are turning to the natural world to help find new ways of tackling cash machine thieves.

The bombardier beetle possesses a highly potent defense mechanism that is sure to discourage even the most determined of predators. When the insect is threatened it mixes together two chemicals stored in chambers within its own body to produce a toxic acidic spray that can be spewed on to its enemies.

Now researchers in Switzerland have taken inspiration from the beetle's defense system in the development of a new anti-vandalism mechanism that can be used to protect ATM machines and other sensitive devices from thieves.

The new system detects when someone has broken through the top layers of plastic and then combines two chemicals to form a hot foam that can be sprayed straight in to the vandal's face.

"When you see how elegantly nature solves problems, you realise how deadlocked the world of technology often is," said Prof Wendelin Jan Stark.

Source: CBS News | Comments (9)

Tags: Beetle, Cash Machine, ATM

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by paperdyer on 9 May, 2014, 14:39
Sounds great for the spur of the moment heist. However anyone who planned an ATM robbery would hide his identity. All they need to do is wear a protective face mask. Protects both.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Paranomaly on 9 May, 2014, 14:43
Watch a young kid hit one and get sprayed....
Comment icon #3 Posted by :PsYKoTiC:BeHAvIoR: on 9 May, 2014, 14:58
Honestly, I thought acid spewing creatures were just Hollywood creations. With that said, I'm sure it will be more entertaining to watch those surveillance cameras from now on. Hehe.
Comment icon #4 Posted by H132 on 10 May, 2014, 6:32
Wow, this is stupid. I can envision multiple ways around this and some that would even involving injuring innocent bystanders. For example, one can force someone else at gunpoint to open it for them. Or another is just to open it using protective gear. Even tracking devices are useless since an entire machine can be encased with something that scrambles the signal making it untracable. There is really no way to defend against these thefts. The only option is to detect a break-in and as a response, something destroys the cash inside the machine. The paper it's printed on is useless a... [More]
Comment icon #5 Posted by libstaK on 10 May, 2014, 16:23
Well thought out and said, there will be innocent victims and acid that can be "triggered" by a malfunction would be tragic and an unwarranted risk. Destroy the money instead, that is a much more sensible deterrent.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Sundew on 11 May, 2014, 1:48
So, no lawyers in Switzerland?
Comment icon #7 Posted by Duchess Gummybuns on 5 June, 2014, 22:48
Why MAKE a security system when you could just train the insects to keep guard? It would save money, and you wouldn't have to worry about any malfunctioning equipment! What? A Gummybun can dream!
Comment icon #8 Posted by LimeGelatin on 7 June, 2014, 14:28
Oh, I just can't wait till I hear about the thief winning a lawsuit over how he was slightly blinded by the acid that prevented him from being able to steal and how he will for ever be emotionally scarred by the incident... -LoLzzz
Comment icon #9 Posted by OptimisticSkeptic on 8 June, 2014, 17:28
Many jurisdictions in the States have laws against booby traps meant to repel intruders from homes. This is certainly a booby trap but since many ATMs are owned by banks, our federal gubmint might just give them a blanket pass.

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