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Armor

Seahorse tails are prehensile, like a monkey's (Photo: shellac)

The meaning of the word biomimicry is being devalued and inflated, to the point that any technology or design with the vaguest resemblance to something in the natural world tends to have the word unthinkingly applied to it. PR people in the automotive and architectural fields are now particularly fond of the word. So it's refreshing to be able to report on some research that has taken a detailed look at a natural phenomenon, the armor of a seahorse, and thought about how it might be applied in the field of robotics. The researchers think a similar structure of sliding plates could be used to improve robot arms used for underwater exploration and bomb disposal.  Read More

Paratroopers in T-11 parachutes and teh IOTV armored vest

If any soldier needs body armor, its a paratrooper making a parachute drop. Unfortunately, standard body armor is too inflexible for paratroopers to use without the risk of being injured upon landing, but the US Army’s Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate hopes to rectify this, conducting test jumps with both the latest parachutes and body armor.  Read More

Nanofoams, such as this one made from porous silica, are able to absorb large amounts of e...

Given that scientists are already looking to sea sponges as an inspiration for body armor, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that foam is also being considered ... not just any foam, though. Unlike regular foam, specially-designed nanofoams could someday not only be used in body armor, but also to protect buildings from explosions.  Read More

Scientists have replicated the flexible-but-tough internal structure of the sea sponge, to...

Chances are that if you were heading into battle, you wouldn’t wish that you were covered in sponges. It turns out that the sea sponge, however, has a unique structure that allows it to be flexible while remaining relatively impervious to predators. Scientists have now simulated this structure, in a lab-created material that may someday find use in body armor.  Read More

The Hail Protector inflates to protect against hail damage

According to the Highway Loss Data Institute, approximately 250,000 cars are damaged by hail every year in the U.S. alone. The average cost of repair comes in at just over US$3,100, so what’s a person to do to protect their vehicle when rain takes the form of ice sculpted golf balls? The obvious solution – airbag the car.  Read More

Hardwire Armor Systems' ballistic whiteboard

Given the horrific event that occurred last month in Newtown, Connecticut, it’s not surprising that we’re seeing a rise in products designed specifically to protect children against shootings in schools. One of the latest such devices is a bulletproof dry-erase whiteboard.  Read More

The Lexani Motorcars Toyota Sequoia

If you’re looking for a car that can ride out the zombie apocalypse in comfort and money is no object, then Lexani Motorcars has something for you. The company has customized a Toyota Sequoia by adding enough armor to satisfy General Patton and then blinged it out with everything from wine coolers to huge leather seats. The resulting luxury SUV appears to be aimed at people who believe that security concerns don’t mean doing without a cranking infotainment system and a wall to wall flat screen TV.  Read More

Edwin Thomas, left, and Jae-Hwang Lee holding a polymer material containing three bullets ...

Scientists have theorized that paper-thin composite nanomaterials could stop bullets just as effectively as heavy weight body armor, but progress has been hampered by their inability to reliably test such materials against projectile impacts. Researchers at MIT and Rice University have developed a breakthrough stress-test that fires microscopic glass beads at impact-absorbing material. Although the projectiles are much smaller than a bullet, the experimental results could be scaled up to predict how the material would stand up to larger impacts.  Read More

Brandon Sobchyshyn in his one-of-a-kind Emile costume, alongside an image of the actual Ha...

What would you do if your 12 year-old son announced that he’d like to dress up as the armor-clad Emile character from the game Halo: Reach for Hallowe’en? While many parents might just take a cursory look for a cheap, ready-made costume, that’s not what Steve Sobchyshyn did. Instead, he spent an estimated 150 hours and a couple of hundred bucks building his own from scratch. The end result, we’re sure you’ll agree, was well worth it.  Read More

The new female body armor will be tested next (northern hemisphere) summer

Body armor is a blessing and a curse for soldiers. Modern tactical armor has saved thousands of lives from bullets and bombs, but it can also be a major problem if it doesn’t fit properly. That’s what the women who make up 14 percent of the U.S. Army face on a regular basis. Now, according to the Army News Service, the Army is preparing to test a new armor that is tailored to the female form to replace the standard men's armor that the women now use. Working on data collected in studies overseas and at stateside army bases, the Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier has identified several problem areas and has developed a new armor that will be tested in 2013.  Read More

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