January 19, 2009

Traffic stopper name after squid

A new device to stop fleeing drivers was modeled after and named for the ocean squid, says the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The Safe Quick Undercarriage Immobilization Device -- SQUID -- is about the size of a small tire and costs under $1,000, the department said in a statement.

When deployed, the device becomes a mass of tentacles entangling the axle of vehicles large and small, said Martin Martinez, president of Engineering Science Analysis Corp. of Tempe, Ariz., which designed the SQUID.

Police and the military would set the device and then deploy it by remote as the vehicle approaches at speeds of up to 120 mph, Martinez said, noting the SQUID ensnares its prey with sticky tendrils like its namesake.

Martinez said the device is being tested this year with a goal of having it for sale in 2010.