By Ryan Bradley
Posted 04.17.2012 at 4:45 pm 4 Comments
Neri Oxman, the director of the Mediated Matter research group at the MIT Media Lab, designs skins and body armors inspired by human tissue. “Most patterns in nature—whether scales or spiderwebs—have some kind of logic that can be computationally modeled,” she says.
Weaving wool into Kevlar improves the energy and water absorption of the synthetic textile, potentially making bulletproof vests more comfortable and more affordable, according to researchers in Australia.
Tightly woven wool reduces the number of Kevlar layers required to stop a bullet from 36 to 30, and wool’s water-absorption qualities could make Kevlar more effective in wet situations.
Liquid armor has been shown to stop bullets more effectively than plain Kevlar, according to British firm BAE Systems. The material could be used to make thinner, lighter armor for military personnel and police officers, the BBC reports.
Materials scientists combined a shear-thickening liquid with traditional Kevlar to make a bulletproof material that absorbs the force of a bullet strike by becoming thicker and stickier.
Buildings or commercial jetliners could soon get a protective coating of shatter-resistant armor similar to the material lining abalone shells. Finnish researchers have developed the lightweight reinforcement so that people can simply paint it on whatever structure, reports Technology Review.
Attention recruits. Those of you landing in Afghanistan in coming months may not have to engage in the sandbag stacking and trench digging usually associated with lowly grunt-dom. An $800,000 investment in an armored wall system known as McCurdy’s Armor could have Marines rapidly erecting 6.5-foot-tall mortar-, RPG- and bullet proof fortresses in less than an hour, saving the days it can take to fortify an area by conventional means and making forward-operating units more nimble.
A snail might not sounds like an ideal inspiration for a defense system, but one unique, deep-sea dwelling mollusk could serve as the model for a new kind of body armor, based on its ability to repel crab attacks.
He is man's best friend after all, so doesn't he deserve the tactical body armor commensurate with that title? K9 Storm, a Canadian body armor specialist, pulls in millions a year manufacturing body armor for dogs serving in the line of duty on police forces and in militaries around the world. In 2010, their newest line of doggie defense, the K9 Storm Intruder, will pull Fido into the digital age.
While weapons continue to grow smarter and smarter, the U.S. Army is developing armor to match the arms. A new 'intelligent' armor under development at the Army's Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center can evaluate its own condition, identify the type of round being shot at it, and even generate electrical power from bullet strikes.
Despite the vehicles' armor, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) can still take out Humvees and MRAP vehicles with ease. But a company wants to change that equation with airbags that neutralize incoming RPGs and prevent them from exploding.
In an interesting experiment, researchers sheathed living yeast cells in armor of silica. The cells survived, and emerged as unusual armored versions of themselves that could become building blocks for nanotech applications.
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.