The Bomb Disposal Suit
When Groat first joined EOD more than a decade ago, bomb disposal suits were basically composed of a face shield, a helmet, and a big Kevlar jacket. They were heavy, cumbersome, restrictive, and very, very hot.
And they still are. But while the suits are still what they have to be--a heavy protective layer that could be the only thing insulating a human body from a fertilizer bomb or artillery shell--they have grown smarter over the years. Ten years in Iraq and Afghanistan have led suit makers to incorporate better in-suit ventilation and active cooling in both helmet and suit. They've also enhanced protection in key organ areas and for the spinal cord, built communications right into the suit, and installed sound enhancing earphones in the helmet to filter out static (you don't want to miss a key communication while disarming an IED).
Of course, thanks to robots the bomb disposal suit doesn't have to come out so often. But that doesn't mean EOD techs don't pack it--and prepare to use it--on any given day.