ATMs that spray acid and ooze hot foam

Every once in a while, a true security innovation comes along. Here's one: a security system that's being proposed by some Swiss researchers to protect ATMs from vandalism. The system is inspired by ... a beetle. The bombardier beetle, to be exact. The beetle's inspiring behavior is as follows:

"When threatened, the bombardier beetle releases a caustic spray, accompanied by a popping sound. This spray can kill ants or scare off frogs. The beetle produces the explosive agent itself when needed. Two separately stored chemicals are mixed in a reaction chamber in the beetle's abdomen. An explosion is triggered with the help of catalytic enzymes."

Sounds like a sheer living hell if you're an ant or a frog. What if you're an ATM vandalizer, though? Well, the Swiss Researchers have an artificial version of the bombardier beetle's caustic spray mechanism that's especially for you. It's:

" ... a self-defending surface composed of several sandwich-like layers of plastic. If the surface is damaged, hot foam is sprayed in the face of the attacker."

That's right. A plastic sandwich filled with hot foam that executes an acid attack.  I hereby resolve to avoid Swiss ATMs from now on. (I mean what if the thing went off on a false negative?)

What disappointed me was, the ATM version dispenses with the popping sound, which I thought would have been a nice feature.

Gotta love those Swiss Researchers. I had to check whether the article was written on April 1, but nope, it was published on ETH Zurich's website on April 11, 2014.

(Via The Atlantic)