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Acid ATM's: The Security Solution Of The Future?

While most security experts are looking toward the technologically cutting edge to solve pressing security problems, researchers in Zurich are going back to nature to find inventive ways to fight off thieves. Specifically, they are looking to the bombardier beetle which comes naturally equipped with one of the more aggressive chemical defense systems on Earth.

When threatened the bug mixes two separately stored chemicals in its stomach, and then spews a highly corrosive spray at predators.

Researchers at ETH Zurich University are trying to build an ATM that behaves in roughly the same way when threatened by vandals and thieves. Combing a surface made up of many sandwiched layers of plastic with a honeycomb system filled with hydrogen peroxide or manganese dioxide. When layers are destroyed, a violent chemical reaction is set off, producing water vapor, heat and oxygen as byproducts.

Apart from a nasty spray, units also embedded with dye packs could further make the stolen cash from within the machine useless.

Wendelin Jan Stark, professor, ETH Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences told Finextra: "When you see how elegantly nature solves problems, you realize how deadlocked the world of technology often is."

Booby-trapped ATMs have a troubled history. A South African bank attempted to use a pepper-spray enhanced machine, but were forced to disable it when it began attacking innocent bystanders using the ATM normally.

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