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Zombie Auto-decapitator

Solar powered zombie re-deaderation device
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I just finished a Walking Dead marathon and both reading and watching World War Z and came up with a reasonably simple solution to any future Zombie issues: take a large solar panel and place it on a pole in the center of a small hill. Use the power from the panel to power a small electric motor which spins a large (~10- 20' diameter) metal bar/mower blade which is suspended at approximately 5' off the ground at its tip and due to the hill dropping to only a few feet at the pole. Add on a siren that sounds when the blade has reached a specified speed and leave a sign warning of danger to living beings and leave to set up many more of such arrangements. This simple and reasonably cheap arrangement should each eliminate dozens of zombies of various heights without endangering anyone. If an sufficiently steep hill is used, the system should be self cleaning and might take out hundreds.
MisterQED, Jul 15 2013

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       Could an engine powered by a solar panel generate enough torque? Especially when the panel must also power a looped recording of shreiks and feeding sounds to attract the dead. I worry such a device will slow too much with each chop. Plus if the zombie falls across the blade that will be it for the device.   

       21q I was dissatisfied with the explanation of what N Korea did about the zombies. My recollection is that there were no zombies but no north koreans either. I thought they were teeing themselves up for a sequel.
bungston, Jul 15 2013
  

       There was a weapon very similar to this in part of Half-Life 2 (in the Ravenholm section, where the idea is to use environmental traps as much as possible to kill the alien zombies). It was basically an old helicopter blade on a motor that you could spin up and duck under, and the zombies would stupidly walk into it (and their doom) as they chased you.
ytk, Jul 15 2013
  

       //Could an engine powered by a solar panel generate enough torque? Especially when the panel must also power a looped recording of shreiks and feeding sounds to attract the dead.// Yes, it is all about energy storage. The mower blade is a giant flywheel storing the energy of the solar panel. The electric motor just has to have more torque than the drag of the bearing supporting the blade and the air drag on the blade. It will start slow and just keep getting faster until it reaches a sufficient speed where is effective. At that point it will hopefully easily slice through a skull or two without loosing too much momentum, at which point the cycle starts again or if the blade is slowed too much then the siren stops and the zombies will be drawn to the sound of one of the other machines like this.
MisterQED, Jul 15 2013
  

       I think a blade is likely to get caught in the skull of a victim of the device. Ought to be a pole or rod I think. Smash the skulls instead of cutting into the skulls.
Kansan101, Jul 15 2013
  

       It always bugs me in zombie films that when the ravening crowd is milling around outside they don't just cull the bulk of them with some sort of repeating expedient trap.   

       I mean, if you're in a secure shopping mall with access to the second floor roof - why not use a brick on a string to safely take them down one at a time? That'll even work on those new-fangled turbo-zombies.   

       At least in "The Walking Dead" series they've finally discovered the efficient "slot them through wire-mesh fence" approach.
Loris, Jul 16 2013
  

       //a brick on a string// [marked-for-tagline]
FlyingToaster, Jul 16 2013
  

       //I think a blade is likely to get caught in the skull of a victim of the device. Ought to be a pole or rod I think. Smash the skulls instead of cutting into the skulls.// No, the idea blade should be sharp, so that it cuts through the skull easily and doesn't slow the blade too much. The sharper the better as long as it stays that way. Think Samari swords. The sharper the blade the lower the lost inertia. I'm not too worried about the blade getting caught as the mass of a 10 or 20' spinning blade would have to be significant.   

       //It always bugs me in zombie films that when the ravening crowd is milling around outside they don't just cull the bulk of them with some sort of repeating expedient trap.// The seed of the idea is taken from the pit trap used in the last year of the walking dead to catch zombies to be used as weapons. They use a wind powered noise maker to draw the zombies to a 8' deep pit.
MisterQED, Jul 16 2013
  

       I am curious about the brick on a string approach. I wonder if you would hang it down as though fishing and time your drop, or flywheel it around and around? If the latter would you hold the string in hands, or around your waist and use pelvic motions like a hula hoop? Or are you throwing the brick at zombies and using the string to retrieve your brick, because of brick scarcity? These are important distinctions.   

       A linked video will serve nicely as an answer, esp if of the hula hoop technique.
bungston, Jul 16 2013
  

       //I am curious about the brick on a string approach. I wonder if you would hang it down as though fishing and time your drop, or flywheel it around and around? If the latter would you hold the string in hands, or around your waist and use pelvic motions like a hula hoop? Or are you throwing the brick at zombies and using the string to retrieve your brick, because of brick scarcity? These are important distinctions.//   

       The way I see it, when dealing with zombies the most important thing is for your process not to go disastrously wrong[1]. So you don't want to be tied on to anything within reach of zombies.
My approach would be to drop the brick on a zombie then pull it back up. The string is most definitely not wrapped around your hand. Perhaps you've tied it on to something bolted down just so you don't lose it too easily, but you do need to have a knife handy to cut the string, just in case. We can also assume that the entire team[2] knows their role and is paying attention.
  

       If you have a surfeit of bricks within easy access of the drop point you might want to forgo the string, but even then you might have other uses for them later.   

       [1] Rule 1 : don't do anything stupid.
[2] Rule 2 : don't be alone unless unavoidable; you need someone to watch your back.
Loris, Jul 17 2013
  

       I believe the hard to stop zombies are usually of the "only a head shot" or "only complete dismemberment" types. In the former case, careful aimed fire would be needed to disable a zombie, in the latter, even an assault weapon on full auto won't do the trick, since you'd spend more than a full clip to take one down.
MechE, Jul 17 2013
  

       //What annoys me about zombie films is the assumption that a mass of running bodies is either unrealistically difficult to stop with a fully automatic rifle// Yes, this is covered in World War Z, the book, the problem is that the effective target is so small, i.e. only head shots count. The book claims that there is a training issue with re- training people to aim for the head when they have been trained to aim for the body. I'm dubious on that, but I've never had the training so my opinion is also of dubious worth. The book makes good points on the other differences in fighting against zombies as they are completely committed unlike any normal soldier. The numbers are also very different than we have ever faced as no normal country can mobilize 100% of it's population for war, but I like you fail to have much fear of an unthinking enemy, thus the reason for posting this idea. It is a simple trap, which wouldn't work on any normal enemy, but would work on the popular flavor of zombie popular in today's fiction.
MisterQED, Jul 17 2013
  

       It you're depending on geographical features anyway can't you just put a spring loaded platform on the edge of a cliff, with a (solar powered if you like) siren above it such that the weight of a zombie will push down the platform and make it fall? If your zombies can survive the fall add any number of lethal traps at the bottom from molten rock to a huge lye pit to a trash compactor. You can even use suspended human volunteers ("volunteers" if you like) as bait.
Voice, Jul 17 2013
  

       I think a machine gun would stop a wave of zombies. Bullets kill and hurt but they also pack a wallop. Bullets would knock zombies down.   

       I think really, zombies would not be so hard to deal with. But the whole zombie armageddon thing is a metaphor.
bungston, Jul 17 2013
  

       I should also note that in WWZ decapitation was specifically found to be less than ideal by the blind samurai gardener because "the living heads" can still bite. Probably a blind guy is feeling around on the ground more than most so that would be an issue. Also the heads are probably pretty quiet and would not give themselves away by sputtering etc. Maybe you could hear some gnashing.
bungston, Jul 17 2013
  

       //What annoys me about zombie films is the assumption that a mass of running bodies is either unrealistically difficult to stop with a fully automatic rifle,//   

       The problem here is that most human-wave attacks consist of sentient beings with a sense of self-preservation, such that at some point, they "break" off the attack (which is counter-productive in most cases, what with having to run all the way back to cover, they tend to get shot in the back a fair bit). A zombie horde doesn't lose their nerve, and just keeps coming until killed or sufficiently disabled as to not be able to move.   

       I think fire would be similarly inneffective, as without pain receptors, or at least response, there is no shock for them to go into. It actually takes a lot of fire to destroy enough muscle or connective tissues to render the human frame unable to move - what fire does is hurts so bad that you become innefective, something zombies don't have to worry about. The only counterargument here is if the zombies still need to respire, as fire does a really good job of destroying lung tissue. The issue of how zombies actually continue to function isn't well addressed anywhere I've come across.
Custardguts, Jul 17 2013
  

       // In places like Norfolk the zombie infestation is almost total already //   

       "almost" ... ?   

       You should include Linconshire, Suffolk and large parts of Cambridgeshire in that.   

       // Think Samari swords //   

       Sp. "Samurai"   

       // The issue of how zombies actually continue to function isn't well addressed anywhere I've come across. //   

       Much is being learned from the study of local politicians. They look superficially alive, but with no meaningful intellectual activity.
8th of 7, Jul 18 2013
  

       Yes, a machine gun at leg level would do some good, but to some extent it depends on what your using, and to a large extent how much reserve ammunition you have.   

       Figure maybe one bullet in twenty (and I suspect that's very optimistic) manages to completely shatter bone or sever muscle/tendon. That means a full minute of fire of a minigun could take out 200 zombies. But it also uses up over 40 kg of ammo. If you've got a wave of a couple of thousand coming at you and they literally will not stop and retreat, a single individual or small squad quite simply isn't going to have enough firepower to take them down. An organized force might.   

       And don't forget, if they make it into hand to hand combat range, you lose people and they get reinforcements.   

       Aimed fire from a well trained squad is definitely going to be more effective from a logistics standpoint, and possible from an actual rate of kill standpoint, depending on how optimistic my bullet/mission kill numbers were.
MechE, Jul 18 2013
  

       //I should also note that in WWZ decapitation was specifically found to be less than ideal by the blind samurai gardener because "the living heads" can still bite.// Maybe my title is misleading, this device is not designed to truly decapitate, but to horizontally split the skull. Humans come in various heights from 3' to 7' mostly. The 5' height of the outer tip really should be raised 5'4" in countries with taller average humans or lowered as necessary as it is designed to split the skulls of most average height adults. The slight dirt embanking around the center is designed to raise up the shorter zombies to reach the blade. Any extra ground angle is just designed to allow bodies to fall away from the circle of destruction. No hill or major ground feature is necessary, just a bit of shoveling.
MisterQED, Jul 18 2013
  

       Guys, guys, I think we've lost sight of where we are. This is the *halfbakery* and these unstoppable untiring ravening beings represent an untapped resource.   

       I think it's obvious that the best thing to do is to collect a few and put them on a treadmill.
Loris, Jul 18 2013
  

       On reading WWZ (the zombies there very different from those I am told are in the movie) my suspension of disbelief broke when they used nerve gas on fleeing citizens, but then those infected with zombie rose back up as zombies and kept going. "How do their muscles receive impulses, then?" I scoffed. I realized I had gotten too close.   

       Zombie physiology does not bear close scrutiny.
bungston, Jul 18 2013
  

       This sounds better than the wind turbine project.
skinflaps, Jul 18 2013
  

       // The 5' height of the outer tip really should be raised 5'4" in countries with taller average humans or lowered as necessary as it is designed to split the skulls of most average height adults. //   

       Contrarotating discs of blades of different lengths, longest on top. Tall zombies lurch into the top blades and get their skulls sliced. Shorter zombies pass under the first set of blades but get chopped by the next lower set.   

       Think if it as a huge sharp metal upside-down Chritmas tree made of long blades smeared in gore, all whirring round at high speed making a WipWipWipWip noise.
8th of 7, Jul 19 2013
  
      
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