Mankind has always looked at nature for inspiration. When he wanted to fly he looked at the birds and when he wanted to swim, he took cue from the fishes. Researchers in Switzerland have taken clue from the insect world to come up with methods to check and outsmart ATM thieves.

The insect in question is the Bombardier beetle which can inject a debilitating mixture of hydroquinone, hydrogen peroxide plus several potent catalysts which is prepared in a reaction chamber in its abdomen. Once again going back to nature is a perfect way to outsmart criminals.

The Bombardier Beetle is a shiny blue beetle and within its slick body encloses one of the most aggressive chemical defense systems. It releases a spray that’s powerful enough to kill ants when it’s threatened. The individual components of the toxic mixture are kept separately in its abdomen. When the insect feels threatened the two components are mixed to form a lethal mixture which is then sprayed on its enemies.

Wendelin Jan Stark, a professor from the ETH Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences said, “When you see how elegantly nature solves problems, you realize how deadlocked the world of technology often is,”

Stark and his team took inspiration from the Bombardier Beetle and have perfected an anti vandalism mechanism for ATM’s using a number of layers of plastic. If the plastic surface is damaged, the anti vandalism mechanism will be activated and it will release a hot foam aimed at the culprit’s face.

The technology is relatively simple and also cost effective since it does not require any power source. The mechanism is triggered when the plastic layers which are filled with chemicals are pressed together and they create a reaction that sprays the acid.


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