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A caltrop is a device made up of four (or more) sharp nails or spines that are arranged in such a manner that one of them is always pointing upward (eg, a tetrahedron). In the military context, it has been used to slow down the advance of horses and wheeled vehicles. Caltrops come in a wide range of sizes, from small caltrops only a few centimeters across that were used by ninjas to deter humans in soft-soled shoes to massive steel or concrete devices designed to wedge into tank treads.

Modern police and security forces often use spike strips[?] against vehicles with inflated rubber tires, a device similar to a patch of caltrops in principle.

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