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05/15/2014

Beetle-inspired ATM theft deterrent

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    A deadly beetle has inspired an ATM protection system that will defend itself from thieves.
    The system was inspired by the bombardier beetle's ability to spray its enemies with near-boiling acid. The beetle stores the ingredients for the acid in two separate chambers in its body, which prevents them from mixing until it is ready to attack.
    Following the beetle's lead, it is possible to build a system of two honeycomb structures filled with chemicals. The structures will be filled with either hydrogen peroxide or manganese dioxide, with the two chemicals separated by a thin lacquer. The lacquer will break easily if subjected to impact, which will allow the chemicals to mix and cause a reaction-such as a foam of dye and nanoparticles that would mark the banknotes (and possibly the thief, as well). The system can function without electricity, and could provide a low-cost alternative to current money protection systems.
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