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Armor

The piranha-bite-proof scales of the Arapaima fish could serve as the inspiration for body...

Here's a question - if piranhas are so ferocious and will attack anything, why aren't they the only fish in the Amazon? Well, in some cases, it's because other fish possess bite-proof armor. The 300-pound (136-kg) Arapaima is just such a fish. In the dry season, when water levels get low, Arapaima are forced to share relatively small bodies of water with piranhas. Their tough-but-flexible scales, however, allow them to remain unharmed. A scientist from the University of California, San Diego is now taking a closer look at those scales, with an eye towards applying their secrets to human technology such as body armor.  Read More

G-form Extreme Sleeve for Laptop put to the test

G-Form has taken its expertise in protecting the bodies of cyclists and skaters and applied it to consumer electronics, first with a case for iPad that's tough enough to withstand a bowling ball attack and now with what's billed as "the world's most rugged case for laptops." Made from a flexible, lightweight material that hardens upon impact, the Extreme Sleeve for Laptop will ship at the end of May in 11”, 13” and 15" sizes. Could be just the thing if you're looking to drop your MacBook off a balcony ...  Read More

BAE Systems has presented the fruits of its Future Protected Vehicle program (FPV) to the ...

BAE Systems has presented the fruits of its Future Protected Vehicle program (FPV) to the U.K. Ministry of Defence, and it's an intiguing glimpse of the what we can expect to see in tomorrow's high-tech battlefield. With input from over 35 organizations, the FPV study is aimed at identifying "innovative technologies and concepts for short, medium and long term exploitation into future lightweight land platforms." Hundreds of new technologies were canvassed in the study and seven platform concept vehicles have been floated to showcase the most significant of these, including the use of electronic ink camouflage systems, microwave weapons, floating electro-magnetic armor and a type of mechanical "sweat" that reduces thermal signature.  Read More

Surface etched aluminum bar (Image: Alchemist-hp)

Using a technique that creates a new nanoscale architecture, researchers have created an aluminum alloy just as strong as steel but with reasonable plasticity to stretch and not break under stress. Importantly, the technique of creating these nanostructures can be used on many different types of metals and the team plans to work on strengthening magnesium, a metal that is even lighter than aluminum that could be used to make strong, lightweight body armor for soldiers.  Read More

As part of a project to create future body armor offering soldiers greater ballistics protection and ease of movement, scientists and engineers at BAE Systems have developed a liquid which hardens when struck. The technology, dubbed “liquid armor” by its developers, harnesses the unique properties of shear thickening or dilatant fluids that "lock" together when subjected to a force and is designed to enhance the existing energy absorbing properties of material structures like Kevlar.  Read More

Bulletproof vests are built for safety, not for comfort, but breakthrough research from the University of South Carolina suggests soldiers and law enforcement officers of the future might be more casually dressed. The scientists have taken an everyday T-shirt and reinforced it with the boron carbide – an extremely hard ceramic used in bullet proof vests and tanks – to produce a UV protective, lightweight and flexible body armor solution.  Read More

A piece of the boron-nitride nanotube yarn

Not satisfied with your Kevlar body armor? Well, you may be in luck. American researchers have used lasers to create the world’s first practical macroscopic yarns from boron nitride fibers. The development could unlock the potential of the material for a wide variety of applications, including radiation-shielding for spacecraft, solar energy collection, and stronger body armor. If the supplied photo is anything to go by, it also does a great job at holding up a quarter.  Read More

Noel's loving his job today: trauma testing d3o's advanced motorcycle armour with a very n...

d3o's body armour claims to be soft and flexible throughout the day, but to harden up instantly under impact. As such it's been a big hit in the snowboarding market, where it can make clothing protective and impact-resistant without it looking like you're wearing armour. But now d3o are branching out into the motorcycle armour market - so how does this thin, bright orange wonder armour compare against the traditional thick foam CE armour pads you find in bike leathers? Editor Noel McKeegan attacks Loz Blain with a heavy frying pan to find out.  Read More

Super-shell has a unique three-layer structure dissipating energy that would cause weaker ...

They say life imitates art, but any scientist knows that the best designs imitate life. Researchers from the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN) are drawing new biomimicry inspiration for body armor design from a hardy ocean snail that boasts a shell structure unlike anything else seen in nature... or in material research labs.  Read More

The tubular steel 'space frame' of the Ultra II is welded together

Casualties in Iraq from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have dropped as the number of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles has increased, but with roadside bombs still responsible for the majority of casualties to coalition forces in Afghanistan, there is a need for a smaller, more nimble version more suited to its rugged, mountainous terrain. A new concept that would see military vehicles built around a protected personnel compartment and use a sacrificial “blast wedge” to absorb energy could improve safety for the occupants of future light armored patrol vehicles.  Read More

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