• High-tech opportunities of lab-produced silk

    Tougher than a bullet-proof vest yet synonymous with beauty and luxury, silk fibers are a masterpiece of nature whose remarkable properties have yet to be fully replicated in the laboratory; thanks to their amazing mechanical properties as well as their looks, silk fibers have been important materials in textiles, medical sutures, and even armor for 5,000 years; Tufts researchers are getting close to producing silk in the lab

  • "Bulletproof custard" liquid armor better than a Kevlar vest

    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; its molecules lock together more tightly when it is struck, the scientists explained — they described it as “bulletproof custard”

  • New electronic fiber make smarter fabric a reality

    A soft, flexible fiber with a 1,000 times more capacitance than a co-axial cable could lead to smarter textiles; these smart fabrics could sense their environment, store, transmit, and process information — as well as harvest and store the energy necessary to do all this

  • Next-generation HazMat boots made of leather

    The rubber boots that emergency personnel wear when responding to situations where hazardous materials (HazMat) are present may be functional, but they are not very comfortable; with the availability of new textile materials and surface treatments, researchers are confident they can develop a comfortable — and functional — leather boot for use in both fire-fighting and HazMat operations

  • How best to protect first responders from anthrax

    The first responders who rushed to Senator Tom Daschle’s office on 15 October 2001 were protected by personal protective equipment (PPE); yet, nasal swabs taken from them after they got out of the building revealed that some had been exposed to anthrax; experts argue that first responders and emergency personnel should all be vaccinated

  • Aussie scientists make artificial silk

    Scientists have for decades tried to find a way artificially to produce insect silk; Aussie scientists report they have found a method to do so; the tough, lightweight textiles could be used in personal protection equipment such as bulletproof vests and helmets, and in many other applications

  • How much is that armored Armani? Bogota taylor specialize in bulletproof fashion wear

    Talk about a fashion statement. The latest hot thing in Colombia: bulletproof fashion wear; Bogota tailor counts many South American leading politicians – and their wives – among his clients; the tailor, Miguel Caballero, says that he sees a receptive U.S. constituency for his ware: “the hip-hop people maybe will be a big market”; if you want to apply for a job with Caballero, be warned: after a garment is finished, a company employee puts it on and the company owner shoots the employee; if the employee survives, the garment is sold to the celebrity who placed the order for it

  • Stab-proof vests for soccer fans going to South Africa for the World Cup

    This summer’s soccer World Cup in South Africa is going to be poorly attended because many soccer fans have decided not to make the trip: they are not convinced they will be safe in the crime-ridden country; a London-based company hopes to capitalize on this fear by offering soccer fans stab-proof vests; the South African authorities condemn the venture

  • U.S. Army emphasizes new body armor

    The U.S. Army wants better armor for its soldiers; weight has long been an issue with the body armor the Pentagon issues to troops, and the Pentagon has signed an $18.6-million contract with KDH Defense Systems to send 57,000 new, lighter plate carriers to Afghanistan to decrease the load soldiers carry

  • Exoskeletons ready for troop tests in 2010

    Designer of the exoskeleton demonstrates invention for journalists; a wearer can hang a 200 lb backpack from the back frame and heavy chest armor and kit from shoulder extensions

  • Justice sues bulletproof vest manufacturer for using faulty materials

    The Justice Department sues Massachusetts-based First Choice Armor for knowingly using faulty material in the bulletproof vests they sold the military and law enforcement; the company used Zylon, which degrades quickly, especially in hot and humid conditions

  • DARPA funds see-through vidspecs, war-graffiti project

    Lockheed martin turns to Microvision to develop “daylight-readable, see-through, low-profile, ergonomic” color video specs; in addition, the final device should incorporate “voice and tactile command” interfaces, some sort of location system

  • New bullet proof vests will be made from cement

    University of Leeds researchers say that vests made of cement would offer cost-effective level of protection for many people at risk; it should be good enough for people like security guards, reporters and aid workers who are worried about the odd pot shot being taken at them

  • DARPA looks for inertial-nav to be embedded in smart boot's heel

    DARPA is funding the development of smart shoes: soldiers and first responders will be equipped with shoes with embedded inertial navigation sensor; sensor will help in keeping track of soldiers, special operatives, and first responders in harsh environments

  • Swedish military chief wants fire-proof bras for female pilots

    Commander of Swedish military’s helicopter fleet demands fire-proof bras for female pilots; male pilots are already provided with fire-retarding underwear, and Group Commander Michael Byden says his guess is that many female pilots wear them for lack of fire-retarding panties