Liquid Body Armor For TALOS Exoskeleton

Recently, I wrote about the Army's tactical assault light operator suit (see TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding for video and more details), but I didn't realize that it also made use of one of my favorite technovelgy items - soft armor.

Also, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing a next-generation kind of armor called “liquid body armor.”

It “transforms from liquid to solid in milliseconds when a magnetic field or electrical current is applied,” the Army website said.

TALOS will have a physiological subsystem that lies against the skin that is embedded with sensors to monitor core body temperature, skin temperature, heart rate, body position and hydration levels, an Army statement also said.

“The idea is to help maintain the survivability of operators as they enter that first breach through the door,” Allen added.

The concept of liquid armor, armor that was flexible when necessary but which turns rigid upon impact, was explored by science fiction writers long before its appearance as a product.

In his 1968 novel Neutron Star, writer Larry Niven thought of flexible armor suits:

He was weaponless, but his suit was a kind of defense. No projectile short of a fast meteorite could harm him. Like a silicone plastic, the pressure suit was soft and malleable under gentle pressures, such as walking, but instantly became rigid all over when something struck it...
(Read more about Larry Niven's flexible armor suit)

A more recent reference from sf author Neal Stephenson, from his 1992 novel Snow Crash provides insight into the practical use of such a product, as well as a cool (and trademarkable) name:

Where his body has bony extremities, the suit has sintered armorgel; feels like gritty jello, protects like a stack of telephone books.
(Read more about sintered armorgel)

Here are links to more stories in the area of soft armor, some of which are now ten years old ("next-generation technology" can take decades to develop!):

  - Liquid Armor In Two Flavors: Shear Thickening and Magnetorheological
  - d3o Design Competition To Invent The Future
  - Liquid Armor Video Shows Bullets Bounce Off
  - Richard Palmer, d3o Inventor, O2 X Entrepreneur of the Year
  - DEFLEXION Apparel For Superheroes
  - BAE System 'Bullet Proof Custard' Body Armor
  - Love That Shear Thickening Fluid Body Armor

Via Scout.

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