Britain on alert for deadly new knife with exploding tip that freezes victims' organs


(UPDATE: Originally posted on BB Gadgets)

Police in London are on the lookout for £200 frozen-gas knives designed to kill bears and sharks, according to the never-inflammatory Daily Mail.

The manufacturer describes [the Wasp Knife] as perfect for downed pilots, soldiers and security guards and boasts that it will "drop many of the world's largest land predators".

It can snap-freeze all tissue and organs in the area surrounding the blast.

A source close to West Midlands Police said: "The Met is obviously concerned about this and that is why they have circulated the information.

"This knife will almost certainly kill and the Met must have intelligence that they are in circulation.

"I think it is only a matter of time before one of these is used because the internet makes it much easier to find and buy weapons like this."

Wasp injection knife (Daily Mail, Thanks James Olson!)


  1. I am curious if there will be legislative restrictions on the sale of these knives in the relatively near future.

  2. …What? No bullets that utilize this design? :-( This could make deer hunting as much fun as throwing Alka-Selzer to the seagulls :-/

  3. The knife portion of this is just stupid. If the primary design is to inject pressurized gas then ti should be a heavy gauge needle. This seems to just be another gimmick for the “Soldier of Fortune” crowd who feel a need to blow up watermelons. That the maker claims it would be useful for “security guards” just shows they are full of it.

  4. I would have gone with security through obscurity with this.

    Sounds like the dirtiest and easiest object to ghetto-rig.

    I’ll wage it takes a year for the headline: Home-made CO2 knife kills (insert name).

  5. This actually reminds me a lot of the knive Takeshi Kovacs uses in the Altered Carbon novels; it had a channel with a potent bioweapon of some kind in it. When he cut you enough to make you bleed, you liquefied from the inside. So, if this can inject pressurized CO2, why not a low pressure bit of something more infectious? Victim goes to the hospital… infects 1000 people before anyone knows he’s patient zero.

    Ok, now I’ve frightened myself. Great.

  6. @ #5:
    give me a little needle that is still a combat-worthy tool either before or after it is discharged, and i’ll scrap the seduction of having a serious blade attached. tho i will admit that one could just fashion some vicious tranq-darts that would function similarly from a safe distance~

    this weapon is so simple, and yet so the stuff of nightmares.

  7. When killing people with a knife, cleanup is a lot easier if your victim’s internal organs aren’t splayed all around like the watermelon.

  8. I am absolutely astonished by this thing. Hollywood always depicts assailants with knives killing their victims -almost instantaneously- with a single thrust. Now reality has provided those inclined to homicide with a weapon that could actually accomplish that with no skill involved at all.

  9. Is this really what they think is a story?

    “Knife capable of killing people.”

    It already was, even without the added technology.

  10. What I love about knives is that someone still has to come up and stick it in you for it to work. This still isn’t half as scary as a .22 revolver.

  11. I had this idea in high school! Why didn’t I make it? I could have been responsible for the gruesome and excruciating deaths of thousands of innocent pub crawlers in London!

  12. I was just looking at the cut-away diagram that’s shown with the post and the perspective on the image is all wrong. Not that the knife is ‘all right’…

  13. #18 Falcon:

    “There’s somethong weird 3D effect thing going on with that drawing. Is the blade pointing towards the viewer or away? Looks like slightly “towards”; but wait, look at the hilt. Doesn’t it show the back? It’s something to do with the gas canister and the way it’s been rendered. Are we seeing a half-canister or a full one? It keeps flipping on me. Gotta stop looking now….”
    WinkyBB (from the other thread)

  14. it’s likely a dolphin borne version was used to permanently mentally traumatize navy-abducted dolphins by tricking them into murdering enemy divers. Oh yeah, the enemy divers died too.

  15. Another good point last time was: If you stick it in anything heavy, airtight and non-compressable (read: an animal or person bigger than you) won’t the knife either just be propelled backwards out of your grip, or if you are holding on tight enough, send you coasting backwards in an equal-and-opposite fashion? (underwater for example)

  16. “Arguably the most brutal use of dolphins was the United States’ ‘Swimmer Nullification Program’ during the Vietnam War. The dolphins were at first trained to seek out Vietcong divers
    Sea Lion jumps aboard after patrol misson
    Sea Lion jumps aboard after patrol misson
    and alert their masters[8] of the diver’s presence.

    The dolphins excelled at their job, and were soon promoted to a more aggressive stance. The program soon incorporated training which taught dolphins to tear off the unidentified diver’s face mask, flippers and air-tube and drag him to American Navy personnel for interrogation, back at the shore.

    Once again, the exceptionally bright dolphins surpassed all expectations and knives were attached to their rostrums. The dolphins could then kill divers on the spot, by driving the knife into them.

    Subsequently, the Marines theorised a far more sadistic and entirely unnecessary tactic. They fastened hypodermic syringes to the Dolphins’ rostrums, filled with pressurised Carbon Dioxide. What happened as a result was truly horrific. 40 Vietcong divers were injected throughout the war, literally ‘blowing up’ due to the pressurised Carbon Dioxide in their blood. 2 US divers suffered this fate too, by mistake.

    The Soviets also had a dolphin training program within the military but it soon ran out of funds, leaving the trainees[9] starved.

    As a part of the program the animals were trained to carry explosives towards enemy warships and frogmen, and were remotely detonated on contact – basically, suicide bombers.

    Recently in 2000 however, the group of animals were sold to Iran by the Russians, though it is unknown the purpose they will serve. It was the only choice for their trainer Boris Zhurid.”

  17. The blade can be pointing either towards or away- it’s a convex/concave optical illusion. If you’ve ever watched Mystery Science Theater 3000, you’ve probably seen Crow’s silhouette do the same trick, making him appear to face away from the screen.

    The gas canister definitely looks like it’s facing a different direction than the hilt, though, so it’s still screwed up.

  18. Oops, never mind… if the gas canister is being viewed in cross-section, then I guess it’s just the same illusion again. Did M.C. Escher design this or what? It’s like it’s deliberately drawn to look weird.

  19. No where in the article did they say anyone had been found carrying one of these, nor did they report any crime that had been committed with one.

    Knives are already illegal in Britain, for that matter.

    This article was designed specifically for FUD.

    What they unwittingly accomplished, however, was to advertise the weapon for the manufacturer far better than they could ever have done for themselves.


  20. Ok, does it remind anyone else of the Ubersaw in TF2? No? Alrighty then.


    You probably just doomed 7 or 8 secret projects by “leaking” their goal. I loved Altered Carbon, btw.

  21. I am curious if there will be legislative restrictions on the sale of these knives in the relatively near future.

    No, apparently the bad ones are only the ones that can “kill.”

  22. jeez, all the guy did was badly layer some stock drawings. We’ve all made brochures we were ashamed of.

  23. Stratosfyr, there are a few things leading to the illusion, but it is definitely “correct” and definitely rendered in a single plane/perspective.

    The canister is rendered in the same projection as the knife, but because of the cut-away, the cylinder appears concave instead of convex (because we are seeing the inside surface), leading to the illusion of looking in the opposite direction.

    Also, the button hides the hilt on the top half of the knife (the hilt is visible on the bottom half). The upper-hilt would give a much better sense of direction, were it not covered by the button, because it’s forward-face, perpendicular to the flat face of the knife would suggest a solid structure. The lines of those objects get muddled, and join up to give an incorrect impression of the surface “normal”, adding to the flip.

    Also, the metalic/reflective texure of both the knife and cylinder is stylized rather than computed, and not particularly well executed. Your eye/brain is very good at picking up stuff like that, because your onboard spacial-relationships-computer is trying to make the data “work”, but it can’t and so throws up a flag.

  24. The Farallon Shark dart was available 30-odd years ago that used the same technology, but with a pointed nozzle instead of a blade. The idea was to blow the shark’s stomach out its mouth. The sudden inflation would send the carcass to the surface as well…

    There really isn’t anything new under the sun.

  25. Assuming the guy in the video is somewhat proficient in the use of the knife, it appears to take a fair amount of time to stick the knife in, hold it with two hands, find the trigger, and then, activate the trigger.
    In actual use, as actual live opponents are somewhat more active than watermelons, one probably has to tie the shark, bear, or SEAL down then stick the knife in etc, etc. But … in case your victim has friends you have to replace the CO2 cylinder before becoming “the terror” again.

  26. Check out the Birmingham Mail’s sterling coverage of this on youtube..

    Faultless fact-finding, life-on-the-line-to-get-the-story-from-the-streets type stuff, wow!

    Possibly the single truest story I’ve ever heard reported.

  27. Now on CSI (Insert City here) its been a few weeks since this was posted on BBG and I said then probably within six weeks it would be the special weapon of the week used on one of those shows. Granted we are in the summer dearth so might take longer, but I bet very soon its a weapon used on one of those shows.

  28. @TheMindFantastic – They could do a crossover episode with Discovery during Shark Week.

    1. Gives new meaning to “pry it from my cold, dead fingers.”

      Like, “pry my still-warm, dead fingers from it. I’ll be over there bandaging my stump.”

  29. I kept waiting for them to bring out a puppy (I had my cursor over the pause button the whole time).

  30. This is a poor design. The large knife blade makes it harder to push the thing in to the target and the wide wound channel means there is a poor pressure seal for containing the injected gas. And if you are going to get all gimmicky and stuff, why not add some poison while you are at it?

    It is nice to see we have one more weapon in addition to $200 unbreakable umbrellas to protect us from our would be watermelon overlords.

  31. I read one of the related articles on knife crime in the UK…some government clown said this;

    Mr Johnston called for more robust stop-and-search tactics.

    ‘We must get back to the time when members of the public accept that even if they have done nothing wrong, and are not carrying a knife, they must not object to a police officer questioning them and in some cases searching them,’ he said.

    Cheya right.

  32. Hmmmmm, maybe this knife will encourage governments to outlaw carbon-dioxide. So, the war on terrorism ends up accidentally solving the climate change crisis. Of course, every time I exhale, I’m technically manufacturing WMDs. I’ll just put my hands on the hood of the squad car now…

  33. “I kept waiting for them to bring out a puppy (I had my cursor over the pause button the whole time).”

    Yeah, I had my finger on the fullscreen button.

    But seriously, are you serious? Because that wouldn’t be a great way to advertise anything in this day and age of ultra pc.

  34. #8 posted by Mousewrites , July 21, 2008 4:47 PM

    …if this can inject pressurized CO2, why not a low pressure bit of something more infectious? Victim goes to the hospital… infects 1000 people before anyone knows he’s patient zero.


    Blade-wielding killers have been doing variations on the “infected knife” thing since at least the middle ages. The problem is a biological weapon usually doesn’t work fast enough if you’re in hand-to-hand combat, be your opponent an enemy soldier or a grizzly bear.

    Anybody want to explain the physics of “freezing gas” to me? My understanding is that you can’t “create” cold, only displace heat. But if the rapidly expanding gas is contained within a body, where does the heat go?

  35. Isn’t it ideal gas law? (PV = nRT)

    As the gas exits, pressure (P) gets a lot smaller, so temp (T) gets small too?

  36. this strikes me as daft crap.

    yes this knife could kill!!

    There were 4 knife deaths in one day in london this month.

    It seems they are doing fine without.

    And as they remove one weapon after another those who carry knives take a step to the left and pick up the next weapon.

    Most knives in the UK used in assault and murders are not bejewelled Klingon efforts, nor Rambo survival knives, nor are they Gas powered Bear killers, thye are from kitched drawers and last were used to dice an onion.

    Ok, ban all knives….HAMMER TIME.

  37. Is it, like, +3?

    I don’t think anybody should sell a knife of freezing that wasn’t +3.

  38. And if you believe the Daily Mail, swan eating gypsies lower our house prices. It really is an offensive rag, more so than the Sun and News of the World, as it plays on middle class fears and keeps up a state of curtain-twitching paranoia. No doubt they can be bought in Thailand or wherever, but you would expect that our ever vigilant border forces would be ready to spot such weapons *cough*.

  39. @55 I think the point is more pointing at snickering at the Daily Mail than squealing about TEH KILLUR NIVES! Well, I hope so – always seemed to be well-stocked with the corticate, this place.

    Someone wanted a noisy headline, and nothing’s as noisy as a terrifying, horrible threat. Even is it doesn’t actually exist. But hey – it’s great copy, it sells the paper and a back-bencher might get to pass a law. Job’s a good ‘un!

  40. This is designed for defending from things underwater, because the injection of gas will likely float the shark/giant squid/kraken to the surface and out of the way …

    … provided what ever you’re trying to kill doesn’t bite you or grap you with a tentacle first and float to the surface with you…

  41. Yes, BoingBoing are reprinting Daily Mail material, again… But at least Frauenfelder has managed to describe it as “inflammatory”, and even felt justified in pointing this out in the summary itself!

    I think this represents something of a turning point in the evolution of BoingBoing, and should be congratulated.

  42. You kids all missed the most important aspect of this knife:

    It’s utterly useless. Everyone will see you coming from miles away… even in a busy mall filled with ninjas. Because, as the video specifies, you need to be wearing a wet suite to operate the device properly.

    Although on second thought you might have some success on a beach or in scuba school.

  43. I believe an icepick instead of a knife would work better; the attacker’s thrust would puncture the concealed gas container and maybe some kind of pneumatic valve could enable multiple stabs.
    Now, such gentlemanish adaptation would call for a mechanism that could be integrated into a ropera or cane-sword with a beautifully carved Malacca shaft and dragon head (red cabochons for eyes optional). Steampunk!

    A swordstick may be illegal to carry in many jurisdictions as it is a concealed weapon, and is sometimes considered a disguised weapon. US states with statutes that expressly prohibit the carrying of swordsticks include Arkansas (Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-120(b)(3)(B)) and California (Cal Pen Code § 12020(a)(1). Other states may include swordsticks under the general ban on carrying a concealed weapon or a weapon disguised so as to conceal its true nature; an example of such a case can be found in State v. McCoy, 618 N.W.2d 324 (Iowa 2000).

  44. The $400 USD comment is right on the money. For that kind of cash, I can pay someone else to do my killing for me. Admittedly, that level of assassin has quality control problems (What do you mean “Died of a meth overdose”?. Sigh. You just can’t hire good help these days), but I’d still prefer it over my arch-nemesis exploding about one arm-length from me.

  45. Hah, followed a link from that article to and was rewarded with an amazing quote:

    Mr Johnston called for more robust stop-and-search tactics.

    ‘We must get back to the time when members of the public accept that even if they have done nothing wrong, and are not carrying a knife, they must not object to a police officer questioning them and in some cases searching them,’ he said.

  46. 4D knives! The knife shoots gas and makes you question your eyes when looking at it in cross section.

    “Hey, a knife. it’s pointing away from me! Oh God, I’ve been stabbed and… NOOOOO! Gassss! I still don’t know what direction the knife is facing! Noooo!”

  47. Man, there’s a lot of knife lovers out there…gives me the willies. Almost makes me question my devotion to my Swiss Army Knife and its toolbox.

  48. Stabbing a watermelon looks silly, no matter how cool the weapon is (or isn’t).

    If only they had incorporated this weapon into a nice bow and arrow combination, using some kind of timer so that the watermelon can look down at the arrow and think for a few seconds that it will survive despite the wound. And then, Kablouush.

    What a waste of watermelon.

  49. well, it can look cool if you use a katana and balance the watermelon on a volunteer. If you’re good I’ll tell you the real way and the trick method.

  50. Practically speaking, this knife would be a last ditch effort for anyone actually attempting to fend off a large predator, where the last thing you’d want to do was to be in knifing range of (say) a bear. Knives in general are a very valuable thing to have for survival as you can use to them to cut bandages from your clothes, construct shelter, signal for help, obtain food, etc. Personally, I’d much rather have a hollow-handle knife containing matches, tinder, some nylon string, and a compass. There’s also the worry about the knife handle possibly breaking (say from repeated use) and causing injury to the user.

    @Takuan, the trick-way is to cut the watermelon about 2/3 of the way and then twist the blade slightly to break the watermelon completely in two. To the un-educated or faraway observer it will look like you actually sliced the watermelon completely in half. It also helps a bit if you keep the blade on the blunt side, as the human skin has a bit of resistance, while a ripe melon skin will simply break if enough pressure is applied. The real-way is to feel the watermelon as you’re cutting it and stop the blade as you feel the resistance decrease from the curvature of the bottom of the melon. The former would, of course, require lots of practice on countless innocent watermelons. You can tell a real cut by examining the subject watermelons, as the slices will be clean through-out instead of broken or jagged.

  51. It’s almost as dangerous for the guy using the thing! if you’ve got a bear trying to maul you then your hand-eye co-ordination isn’t gonna be perfect. even if you slip and fall you’re about as fucked as getting hit by a train, well… almost

  52. What is it with these fascistic governments like America, England, and others? KNIVES ARE JUST TOOLS. PEOPLE commit crimes of violence. Stop regulating knives and other devices.

    I am very glad for this new invention. It will save countless lives if used correctly against those fearsome damned maneating sharks. I hope to see Youtube video footage of people going out and killing great white, blue, bull, tiger, and other sharks with these, as well as bears of all sorts, wolves, and other monsters.

    Cops and governments should stop trying to be Nanny States and realize that an armed society is a polite society, and, not to sacrifice freedom for a little temporary false security and safety.

Comments are closed.