October 6, 2013

Mark Your Man (or Woman)

For the capstone project required for his degree, UK design student Michael Lambourn devised a bike lock he hoped would make "the experience of bike theft as unpleasant as possible to put off the opportunist thief."

How'd he do it? The SmartLock is a cable lock with cores of compressed air and liquid running its entire length. If the lock is cut, the liquid explodes onto the would-be thief and the scene of the crime.

Lambourn says that while the lock's four chambers (each with its own propellant!) could be adapted to contain "almost any liquid imaginable," he recommends using dye and something called SmartWater. (For you consumers of enhanced H2O beverages, this SmartWater is not Coca-Cola product.)

Lambourn explains his rationale:
The dye would stain clothes, skin, tools, the bike and the area but would fade within two or three months. Smartwater is a clear, odourless forensic liquid that can be detected by police. It has a unique coding that can link the thief to the stolen property and the scene of the crime.
Commenters on the Yanko Design post about the SmartLock had their own ideas:

Fill the lock with pressurized bleach and cat urine, and Ill take 20.

A better deterrent than dye would be mercaptan – aka skunk smell. You could have enough in that spray to make the guy smell like he was attacked by 1000 skunks.
Watch the video and see for yourself:

Want to buy one? While that's not an option—the SmartLock has never been commercially produced—I have made contact with Lambourn, so you at least have a follow-up post to look forward to...

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