d3o-based RibCap: Flexible-Rigid Beanie-Helmet For Snowsports
d3o is a complex elastomeric compound discovered at the University of Hertfordshire. A shear thickening material, it is flexible when moved slowly, but when it is compresssed by an impact, its molecules lock together. The material stiffens, spreading the impact over a greater area. The Swiss company Ribcap is bringing out a new line of headgear for snowsports based on this material. The Ribcap (shown below) is a combination soft, flexible beanie - and tough helmet.
(Ribcap and d3o 'ribs' in cap)
After five years of development, the Ribcap team settled on d3o as the material of choice. Ruth Gough, d3o's brand manager describes her own experience using the Ribcap while out on the piste:
she [Gough] had a rather dramatic fall that terminated on her head. "I was a bit dazed, and I almost wasn’t sure whether I had actually hit my head, although the concern I got from those who saw it assured me that I really had, and quite hard!"
This is a common reaction to real world d3o impact trials. d3o is so comfortable it feels like an extension of you. It’s very easy to forget it’s there, and you’d be forgiven for thinking, in that split second before you hit the ground "this is never going to work..."
(From d3o technology and Ribcap [pdf])
In their 1971 novel The Flying Sorcerers, David Gerrold and Larry Niven write about an impact suit with similar properties:
"It was my impact suit," Purple said. He took a step forward and thumped himself hard in the belly with this fist. His belly was big and soft, so the blow should have made him wince. It did not. I thought for a moment that Purple had become rigid as stone.
"My impact suit," he repeated. "Normally it flows like cloth, but under a sharp blow it becomes a single rigid unit.
(Read more about Gerrold and Niven's impact suit)
Read more about these materials in Liquid Armor In Two Flavors: Shear Thickening and Magnetorheological; read about other uses for d3o or visit the d3o website. Thanks to Winchell Chung for contributing the tip for this article.
Update: Take a look at the comments on John Brunner's karatand w/photo from his 1968 novel Stand on Zanzibar (thanks, readers!).
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/29/2005)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 12 )
Related News Stories -
Liquid Body Armor For TALOS Exoskeleton
'... instantly became rigid all over when something struck it...' - Larry Niven, 1966.
DIY Taser-Proof Clothing
'His suit-shield sucked in the energy and discharged it...'- Philip K. Dick, 1954.
Look Great In Your Garrison Bespoke Bulletproof Suit
'McKie longed for his armored clothing…'- Frank Herbert, 1977.
Bionic Body Armor Makes You Dodge Bullets
Fascinating patent idea by IBM turns everyone - yes, everyone - into a bullet-dodging Neo.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Made In Space To Manufacture Optical Fiber In Orbit
'Mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'
Dune Fans! Power Your Devices With Sweaty Shirts
Yet another power source from humans.
Orwell's Memory Hole Looms Larger Thanks To Nvidia
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'
Pipefish Robot Checks Pipes Cheap
Just like capsule endoscopy, but for bigger pipes. That go underground.
Nifty New SDS Space Debris Sensor For ISS
'Their radars... could easily pinpoint the debris of the early Space Age.'
NanoRacks Space Station Module Concept Validated
Space junk into space architecture.
Nuclear Drones Could Fly For Years
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'
SciFiQ Science Fiction Writing Aid
'Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.'
Robot Only Faster, Not Better, At Recycling
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off... it puts whatever it is in the hopper outside your window.'
Poland Starts With 1000 Warmate 'Suicide Drones'
'Royal Security had told the pods to electrocute you or blast you into chum.'
Dream Of Building Your Own Rocket?
Fiorello Bodoni, you inspire all of us.
Zero Mass 'Vaporators' Pull Drinking Water From The Air
Did you think of Star Wars?
Elon Musk Fears A 'Fleet-Wide Hack' Of Autonomous Vehicles
'Khan grinned. 'It's alive! Bu-wahhahahah!''
China Melts Tibetan Permafrost To Plant Forest
'Can you give us a microwave spotlight?'
iFlytek Doctor Robot First To Pass Medical Exams
Doctor shortage? No problem, we'll just use the autodoc.
Slaughterbot AI KIller Quadcopter Drones
'The real border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories