SkunkLock cycle lock forces anyone trying to steal bikes to vomit uncontrollably

The lock releases a noxious gas something like pepper spray – causing trouble breathing, as well as vomiting

Andrew Griffin
Friday 21 October 2016 10:03 BST
SkunkLock cycle lock forces anyone trying to steal bikes to vomit uncontrollably

Two inventors from San Francisco, irritated by seeing their friends' bikes stolen, have created a new lock that makes anyone who tries to break through it vomit. The lock is triggered whenever it senses someone trying to break into it. When it is, it shoots out a burst of noxious spray, like a skunk.

“Basically we were fed up with thefts,” said Daniel Idzkowski, one of the inventors of the SkunkLock, told The Guardian. “The real last straw was we had a friend park his very expensive electric bike outside a Whole Foods, and then went to have lunch and chat. We went out and his bike was gone.”

His friend had bought two locks, each of them costing $120 each, but even together they weren’t able to keep the bike safe. "I blurted out, ‘why didn’t it blow his balls off?’” said Mr Idzkowski. He therefore set about creating the next best thing. The new lock doesn’t cause any lasting damage, but does induce horrible effects in anyone who tries to tamper with it.

The lock is U-shaped and features a hollow chamber that includes one of three pressurised gases. Once someone has cut about 30 per cent of the way into the lock, it releases the gas – spraying it all over the person who’s trying to break in. That spray makes the people it attaches itself to vomit and have trouble breathing.

There are ways around the lock. First, a thief could come back to the lock after it has finished spraying. But the spray that it emits sticks to skin and clothes, meaning that they would probably still experience the effects and would be very noticeable as a thief. They would probably still be vomiting the whole time and would therefore have difficulty continuing to force the lock open.

The lock could also be picked – many bike locks can be broken into this way, rather than cutting them apart. But as with many other modern products, the bike locks use a mechanism that means picking it can take as long as half an hour – easily long enough for the person picking it to get noticed.

The makers point out that all that really matters is that the SkunkLock makes it too hard to be worth trying. The team are looking to crowdfund their invention. Pledging $99 (£81.24) gives backers a SkunkLock of their own in June 2017 and pending assessment by the inventors’ legal team.

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