5 Jobs That Just Got Awesome Real World Batman Gadgets
While not on the same level as spewing puns and bullets into the faces of criminals in equal measure, the media still love themselves some emergency services. If it doesn't feature a man in a blazer calmly ignoring an explosion, odds are the movie or TV show you're watching includes dramatic scenes of firefighters carrying unconscious bodies from a blazing inferno, or paramedics racing to the hospital while hammering on the breastbone of a buxom young lass, ordering her to "live, damn you!" Hollywood didn't need any help depicting the badass dramatics of the business of lifesaving, but you know what? They're going to get it anyway ...
The Firefighting Grenade
Quick: Name three things that will help you put out a fire. That's right: water, CO2, and your neighbor Rick (he's a hell of a guy). Now, name the three worst things to try to put out a fire with. That's right: more fire, your neighbor Russell (he's a good dude, but he's got no limbs -- just seems mean to wheel him in there, you know?), and hand grenades.
Despite what you may have been led to believe, reducing the fire's hit points to 0 will not put it out.
Well, apparently nobody told the firefighters about that last one, because that's exactly what they've built. Here, friends, is a firefighting grenade:
Or possibly the carrying case for the world's most badass See 'N Say.
It's called FIT-5, which stands for fire interruption technology ... five. And we're not taking liberties with the analogies; it truly is deployed exactly like a grenade. You pull a pin, toss it into whatever area is currently on fire -- your house, your yard, your neighbor Russell (man, we told you not to) -- and a few seconds later FIT-5 explodes in a cloud of gaseous potassium carbonate, smothering the fire. As you might imagine, the device works best in smaller, enclosed spaces, making it ideal for use in building fires, or just for making an extremely memorable exit from virtually any party.
"An entire catering table and no shrimp? Fuck this bar mitzvah, I'm out."
The FIT-5 is supposedly able to extinguish any fuel-based fire in any room less than 2,100 cubic feet and reduce temperatures from 1,000 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit in only 10 seconds. This device isn't just the mad dream of the firefighter's equivalent to MI6's Q, either -- it's already in use in the real world and has apparently been working very well so far. But honestly, even if it wasn't quite as effective as traditional methods, we imagine the FIT-5 wouldn't have any trouble gaining traction with firefighters. Which would you rather do: Wrestle a big throbbing hose with eight other dudes, or whip a high explosive into an inferno and come out of it miraculously unarrested?
If there's one thing you want to get to its destination quickly, it's your own blood. In fact, it's generally preferred that it never leave its home in the first place, but that's why God invented motorcycles: to occasionally take your insides on a magical vacation away from your body.
And now, apparently, to bring them back. This is a blood bike.
Although we presume the Crips are fine with mobile medical care as well.
And aside from having the most badass name this side of official Lamborghini test driver Max Venturi, blood bikes are an elegantly simple solution to a complex problem. See, during rush hour in a busy city, there's only so fast you can go, even with full sirens on. They don't call it gridlock after the leader of the Dinobots: The cars are locked up. There's nowhere for them to go. So ambulances, taxis, and other medical courier services are always hampered, if not outright stopped, by the sheer volume of traffic. Motorcycles, however, are not bound by the tyrannical rule of lanes. They can slip between cars, cut through traffic jams, and jump to vacant sidewalks or shoulders, all while accelerating much faster than an ambulance, which is basically just a van with a bachelor's hospital bolted onto the back.
Although if you're not saving anyone's life, this is pretty much just an asshole move.
The Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes (NABB), which sounds like a fairly terrifying outlaw motorcycle gang, is actually a registered charity organization that represents various smaller blood bike groups across the United Kingdom and Ireland. Since 1969, the brave and selfless folks at the NABB have been helping the less fortunate while putting themselves in often incredibly dangerous situations. And what's even more heroic, they're all volunteers doing this for no personal gain whatsoever (although it probably doesn't hurt that they have a legitimate excuse to get "BLOOD" stenciled onto their motorcycle in giant capital letters).
The Bone Gun
Have you ever been admitted to the hospital? Second only to the rehydrated food, assless gowns, antibiotic-resistant infections, and, oh yeah, whatever major ailment landed you there in the first place, the worst part of the visit is that damn IV. We are such fragile little balloons of blood, seemingly ready to burst at the slightest prick, and yet when it comes time to put an IV in, suddenly we're Superman shrugging bullets off with our eyeballs. The nurses have to stab that thing down like Jason Voorhees just to get it in, by which point you're a sobbing wreck, wondering if this butt enhancement is even worth it.
"Hey, doc, think you can slip a little bourbon in there? I'd rather not remember all this."
But still, in many medical situations, an IV is absolutely necessary to fire those precious drugs into the patient's bloodstream. It's like a bong for your veins -- there's just no replacement. So what happens in an emergency when a patient needs medicine ASAP but an intravenous line can't be established? Why, you shoot them in the bones with a tiny little gun, of course.
If you're gonna get shot in the bone, you might as well get to pick your favorite color.
It sounds like something you'd see a supervillain wield in a Grant Morrison comic, but the bone gun is a real thing, and even more shocking, it is a force for good. In comparison to veins, bones are relatively big and easy to find (ladies). And believe it or not, that's the full extent of the elegantly simple thought process behind the Bone Injection Gun, or BIG (ladies). Bones can convey drugs about as well as blood, and they're damn hard to miss -- especially at the upper tibial plateau. The entire operation takes less than 60 seconds and is largely hygienic and painless. So to recap: Most BIG injections occur between the legs, and full infusion takes less than a minute (LADIES).
New Ways to Fight Fire
Hold on, let us put on our best Bruce Willis voice for this old adage: "Sometimes you have to fight fire ... with fire."
And now there's an even more badass truth: Sometimes you have to fight fire ... with lightning.
We think Smokey the Bear might have undersold how cool fire safety really is.
DARPA researchers at Harvard were recently able to successfully extinguish an 18-inch flame using nothing but "beam electricity" powered by a 600-watt amplifier. The process is actually pretty simple, and you can watch a video of it here. Basically, the electricity creates a new path, directing the flame away from the fuel. If you've ever distracted your stoned roommate from raiding the ramen cupboard with a well-placed copy of A Scanner Darkly, you get the idea.
Of course, that's still in the experimental stage, and if you need to put out much more than an over-toasted bagel, DARPA's lightning gun probably won't be of much help. Enter China, which subscribes to the phallic overcompensation school of firefighting:
We're not gonna say "ladies" this time, but know that we're thinking it.
That's not an art project, a concept, or a stunt. It is a real water cannon, powered by a real jet engine, in use by real Chinese firefighting forces. It can rotate almost a full 360 degrees, has an effective range of 400 feet, and sprays an astonishing four tons of water per minute. That doesn't just put out the fire -- it shames the fire, wipes the seeds of the fire from the Earth, and taints that fire's name forever in the annals of history. It laughs at fire. It ruins fire. It undoes the very concept of fire. It is, without question, the single best firefighting tool we have today ... if you absolutely don't give a damn about water damage. Because seriously, kids are going to be wakeboarding through your kitchen the next day if you call 911 and that thing rolls up to your apartment building.
In retrospect, the baked Alaska might not have been worth it.
The Lifeguard Bazooka
Lifeguards are toned, sexy figures who watch over us to make sure we're doing things right and save us when we do wrong. You know, like Jesus. (What? You look at those old pictures and you tell us Jesus wasn't ripped.)
Thanks to such esteemed documentaries as Baywatch and, to a lesser extent, Baywatch Nights, we all know the drill: You start flailing around in the ocean -- despite having waited the customary 45 seconds after eating those 45 hot dogs -- when soft rock starts blaring from out of literally nowhere, a beautiful person in a red bathing suit comes jogging at you in slow motion, somebody fires up a brief rescue montage, and you wake up alive on the beach.
"A buoy? No, this thing just plays Kenny Loggins songs."
Well, that's how it used to go. Now, with the LONGREACH Buoyancy Deployment System, drowning rescue looks more like this:
Even if you aren't rescued, you at least get the more dignified death of being shot in the face by a cannon.
This beneficent rocket launcher fires lumps of foam that rapidly expand as soon as they touch water, thus allowing lifeguards to get flotation devices to struggling swimmers as far as 150 meters away without ever getting their immaculately feathered hair wet. But it's not just a crude wad of Styrofoam insultingly blasted into your face by a man with abs -- the foam projectile also comes with an emergency light for better tracking, allowing the rescuers to find you easier ... when they eventually stop giggling and thumping you upside the head with dozens of life jackets, that is.
Related Reading: If only every new gadget were this useful. Then maybe we wouldn't live in a world with the around-the-neck wine glass holder. Or this app that makes you pay for missing the gym. But hey, at least those nerdy gadgets aren't killing you.