The fabric’s brute strength comes from Honeywell Spectra fiber—the same stuff used in some bulletproof vests—adapted to stand up to Florida’s tough building codes. To make a wind- and waterproof coating (typically used on outdoor gear) stick to Spectra’s slippery polyethylene strands, the company spent two and a half years finding the correct mix of time and heat for an even coating. Engineers also had to determine the right weave pattern and density to stop large projectiles. It turned out that a slightly loose weave worked best to dissipate the energy of an impact.
“After [a string of hurricanes in] ’04, everyone got into the storm-protection business,” says Florida contractor Michael Faraone. “We’ve used some of the other products. This is the only one that really is storm protection.” $20 per sq. ft.; stormarest.com
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.