By Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It doesn’t get much more conspicuous than a new parking regulation enforcement tool that uses suction cups covered in bright yellow plastic to render your car windshield useless.
It’s the idea of a Philadelphia native who says the device — despite its appearance — is designed to be friendly to law violators and enforcers alike.
The appropriate response when seeing the Barnacle is ‘what the…?’
“The Barnacle definitely gets your attention,” says Kevin Dougherty, president of Ideas That Stick.
You can spot it covering the glass from more than a block away. What you can’t see is anything from the front seat of your car.
“It attaches to the windshield using commercial-grade suction cups that provide 750 lbs of force per suction cup. There is no brute force way of getting it off,” Dougherty explains.
The Barnacle is placed by a parking enforcement officer, but it’s removable by you — once you cover the cost of the violation.
“It’s got a motorist-release feature which allows people to pay over the phone and enter a code on the Barnacle keypad,” Dougherty says. “The device then automatically releases and the person drops it off within 24 hours to a predetermined location.”
The company run by the Drexel grad and former Marine launched the Barnacle this summer.
“It has a tamper and movement alarm that goes off if somebody’s messing with the device, or if they try to move the vehicle,” Dougherty says. “And it’s also GPS-enabled.”
What would happen if someone did try to circumvent the suction cups and remove it — would it crack the windshield?
“You’d need to be standing on the hood of your car to try it,” Dougherty says. “You’d be likely to remove the Barnacle and the windshield at the same time.”
For enforcers, the foldable, lightweight Barnacle is designed to be easy to store and transport and safer to slap on your car than a wheel boot, since it can be deployed from the curbside and not amid oncoming traffic.
The Barnacle is in use in Salt Lake City, Fort Lauderdale, and in Allentown, where Dougherty says the “forward-thinking” parking authority was the first to test the device.