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Protection

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Tough new tornado panels take a stormy beating

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). Read More

Digital Cameras

Agua offers storm-proof quick-draw camera carrying

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.Read More

Military

New catalyst material quickly neutralizes nerve gas

While the Iran-Iraq war of 1981-1988 saw the only large-scale use of chemical weapons since WWII, in a world beset by rogue states, civil wars, and terrorism, protecting against nerve agents and disposing of them remains a major problem. One bright spot is a team from Northwestern University, which has developed a new material capable of neutralizing nerve gases. The zirconium-based Metal-Organic Framework (MOF) called NU-1000 is not only useful for disposing of stockpiles of such toxins, but also for use in gas masks and protective suits for soldiers and rescue workers.Read More

Science

Future soldiers may be wearing fish-inspired body armor

On most fish, their hard, overlapping scales provide considerable protection against pokes and cuts. Because those independently-moving scales are each attached to a flexible underlying skin, however, the fish are still able to easily twist and turn their bodies. Scientists from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and MIT are now attempting to copy that structure, to develop flexible-yet-effective armor for humans. Read More

Bicycles

LeafxPro is like an umbrella for your bike

Even the most dedicated bicycle commuter could be forgiven for taking a look at the weather outside every now and then, and deciding to drive the car to work instead. LeafxPro aims to cater for such occasions with what's most easily described as an umbrella for your bike.Read More

Military

Next generation armor inspired by animal scales

We've seen scientists examine everything from the structure of sea sponges to the clubbing ability of mantis shrimps in the search for next generation lightweight armor systems. Researchers at Northeastern University’s College of Engineering believe that fish scales could hold the key to creating armor that's both impervious and lightweight. They eventually aim to combine the properties of fish, snake and butterfly scales into a single protective armor system.Read More

Wearables

Hedgehog-inspired full-body airbag would inflate into a personal safety cocoon

Last week's Wearable Technologies Conference in Munich showcased the future of cutting edge wearable design. While much of the exhibitor area was dedicated to usual suspects like performance-tracking sensors and wearable cameras, there was one design that immediately stood out. Still just a rough concept in need of partners, the i Gel protective system proposes a full-body airbag suit for protecting motorcyclists, bikers, skiers, and other hobbyists and professionals. Read More

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