A team of MIT researchers has looked closer than ever before at the unique shells of chitons, using X-rays to discover their secrets. The results reveal a no-compromise setup that provides the tiny sea creatures with both protection and optical visibility. The findings could one day inspire man-made armor with similar abilities.
One of the main reasons that many cyclists give for not wearing a helmet is the fact that helmets take up so much room when they're being carried in a bag. As a result, we've seen a number of companies developing folding helmets. One of the latest, UK-based Headkayse, claims that its helmet not only folds down small, but that it's also more comfortable and perhaps even safer than a regular helmet.
If we lived in a world where athletes only received straight-on blows to the head, then regular helmets would offer all the protection needed. In real life, however, helmets usually receive impacts at an angle, with the resulting twisting of the head potentially causing brain injuries to the wearer. Now, scientists from Vancouver's Simon Fraser University have developed something to help keep that from happening – a sticker called the BrainShield.
While it's important for all of us to stay hydrated, it's particularly important for athletes. If they don't, their performance may suffer, plus they could collapse or even die. That's why a Virginia-based startup has created SMRT Mouth. It's a protective mouthguard that measures the wearer's hydration levels, and wirelessly alerts coaches if they're getting too low.
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) are taking inspiration from nature in the search for new materials that could one day be used to create body armor. The study, supported by the US Air Force, focuses on the unique structure and strength of the hexagonally-scaled shell of the boxfish.
Many activities, such as operating heavy machinery, enjoying loud concerts, or shooting guns at a range, generate harmful levels of sound. Ear protection reduces such noise to prevent long-term damage, but it can be difficult or inconvenient to adjust the volume when one needs to hear "normally." One of the latest forms of protection attempts to solve this dilemma with a design that allows more or less sound to pass through with the push of a button. We get some ears-on to see how well the ProSounds X-Pro ear plugs differentiate themselves from the field.
Armored vehicles aren't typically the most luxurious, what with safety rather taking precedence. Vehicle conversion firm Lexani, however, has shown that this need not be the case. Its new B6-armored Toyota Land Cruiser both affords protection and boasts a host of fancy features.
A tornado hitting your house is no joke, but it's not always practical to build a shelter just in case the worst should happen. If the thought of jumping into a protective bag doesn't appeal, a new tough construction panel developed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) could be a good alternative. UAB's new panels can be retrofitted to existing houses or integrated into new builds, and offer protection even in the most extreme EF5 tornado – that is, in winds over 200 mph (321 km/h).
Photographers normally have to choose between having their camera protected from the elements, or being ready to shoot at a moment’s notice. Having recently exceeded its Kickstarter target, the Agua is a storm-proof quick-draw camera carrier which aims to change that by boasting IPX3-standard water-resistance and also doubling up as a carry strap.
It sounds like an old Goon Show joke, but soldiers may one day protect themselves from blasts by wallpapering temporary shelters. It may not be very decorative, but the new ballistic wallpaper under development by the US Army Corps of Engineers uses a special fiber inlay to help prevent walls from collapsing under blast effects.