Infantry: Magical Goo Makes It All Better

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March 1, 2009: A British firm has developed a new substance, d3O that the British military feels may be useful  making soldiers helmets more bulletproof. Normally, d3O is a goo. But when you hit it, the goo instantly turns into a solid. Not a bulletproof solid, but sufficient to allow for the design of more comfortable sporting equipment. Things like kneepads, gloves (for skiers and others who are at risk of hitting things). The goo can be incorporated in clothing as well, and provide more protection for those doing jobs, or recreation, that need protection from falls or getting hit by something.

While the British Army sees a possibility of additional protection from bullets and fragments, by using 3dO inside helmets, the troops see 3dO as more useful for things like kneepads and gloves, or even pants and shirts. While lots of soldiers get wounded by bullets and fragments, far more are injured by hitting elbows, hands or knees on hard surfaces. This has made kneepads and "tactical gloves" (with hard caps covering the knuckles) so popular in the combat zone.

While senior officers obsess over combat casualties, the troops are more concerned with combat injuries. Sure, the infantry are anxious about getting killed or wounded, but the injuries are a daily problem. At the height of combat in Iraq (2005-5), combat troops had a five percent chance of getting killed or wounded during a 12 month tour. But they were ten times more likely to incur some painful (although usually not disabling) injury from the rough and tumble to moving around the battlefield. New clothing items made from d3O goo could have prevented a lot of those bumps, broken bones and bruises. Thus while the officers fret over the possibility of troops getting killed, the troops themselves are more concerned with the certainty of getting injured out there.

 


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