There’s no question that Hurst’s Jaws Of Life lives up to it’s name. But what if you don’t have them — or don’t have access to the hydraulic pressure required to make them operate? Defense contractor Hi-Shear developed the Lifeshear to provide a mechanically simple, lightweight, pyrotechnic extraction tool to supplement these larger, heavier options like the ‘Jaws.
The system uses small gas emitting (read: goes boom) cartridges that rapidly expand causing a steel piston — with a hardened blade — to cut through material like stout automotive brake and clutch pedal levers. The system’s already been put to the test: in 1995 it was used in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing for search and recovery efforts.
The only downside is that as far as we can tell, it’s not currently in production. A Google search turns up several NASA articles about the amazing civilian uses of space technology, however other than that it just doesn’t seem to be around anymore. It’s a shame that such useful technology would just disappear.
Has anyone seen one of these in action? Did they ever get mass produced? Let us know in comments if you’ve got some inside information.