Many people believe that there is a special circle of hell reserved for bike thieves. One inventor has decided to recreate a little bit of hell on Earth for any would-be thieves with a bike lock design that sprays a noxious foul-smelling chemical at anyone that tries to tamper with it, triggering vomiting. It's named, appropriately, the Skunklock.
Inventor Daniel Idzkowski, from San Francisco, is the man behind this novel approach to bike security and describes it as "the bike lock that will make thieves vomit when they try to steal your bike."
It consists of a secure steel U-lock with a hollow pressurised chamber containing the chemical deterrent. The idea is that should someone attempt to cut through the lock they will puncture the seal on the chamber, which will cause the liquid inside to spray out and over the thief.
Although the detailed formula for the liquid is not disclosed, it does contain capsaicin, an irritant that's used in some other personal defence products such as pepper sprays. The substance is designed to be extremely hard to clean off and will ruin clothing that comes into contact with it.
The liquid doesn't have lasting harmful effects and the inventor is at pains to mention that the product is legal in the US, and in many countries worldwide, though he does recommend checking the legal situation in your nation or state yourself to make doubly sure.
Other than the chemical deterrent, the lock is used as any other U-lock and comes with multiple keys — handy, in case one gets misplaced. Of course, as with any lock, it's not impossible to cut through it given time and tools, but it certainly would make it a horrible experience and Idskowski's ambition here is to make it the "least attractive lock to compromise on your block."
Idzkowski isn't the first inventor to develop a lock with an aggressive theft deterrent element built in. The Bike Mine, developed by Yannick Read, is exactly what it sounds like: an explosive device that's designed to let of a loud bang and flash if the lock is tampered with.
Idzkowski and his team are currently seeking crowdfunding for the Skunklock on Indiegogo, with packages starting at US$99 plus shipping, and an estimated delivery date of June 2017.