Several years ago this Barnacle device entered the market, intended as a design improvement over the incumbent parking enforcement device, the Boot.
The problem with the Boot is that it can cause damage to vehicles, which can lead to expensive litigation.
The Barnacle was meant to be a non-marring alternative that works instead by suction, applying 1,000 pounds of force, according to the manufacturer.
Here’s what the suction cups look like from the inside:
Another supposed benefit is that payment information is printed directly on the device itself. The stuck motorist can call a number, make a payment over the phone, then instantly receive a code to deactivate the device with the built-in keypad, then “return the device at a nearby drop-off location.”
Should a motorist attempt to drive away with the Barnacle in place, a loud alarm sounds, and the device transmits its location data to the relevant authorities.
After the University of Oklahoma announced they’d be rolling these out a few years ago…
…it sparked “student fury,” according to the BBC. The $185 fine and need to bring the device to a dropbox angered students, who eventually figured out a way to defeat the device, according to Driving:
“As it turns out, to take off the Barnacle, all you need to do is run your vehicle’s windshield defroster for 15 minutes, and then use a credit card or similar thin piece of plastic to release the suction cup around the edge. Presto! You’re free from fees.”
In the same article, the manufacturers claimed to have made improvements to the device to prevent the unauthorized removals.