Latest By

Artificial Intelligence
Data Storage
Input Devices
Living Space
Space Tech
Virtual Person

"[Science fiction is] nightmares and visions, always outlined by the barely possible."
- Gregory Benford

  A special glove made of impact-sensitive plastic.  

This glove is made of a material that is described in the book as "trigger-rigid."

...a Karatand... It was in effect a palmless glove made of impact-sensitive plastic about a quarter-inch thick. Pressed, pinched, drawn on or off the hand, it remained flexible and nearly as soft as good leather. Struck against a resistant surface, its behavior changed magically, and while the interior stayed soft to act as a cushion against bruising, its outer layers became as rigid as metal.

He thrust his fingers into it and spun around, slamming his fist at the wall. There was a solid thud, and the muscles of his upper arm and shoulder complained, but the Karatand reacted as designed. It was several seconds before he could straighten his fingers against the resistance of the relaxing plastic.

From Stand on Zanzibar, by John Brunner.
Published by Del Rey in 1968
Additional resources -

Brunner suggests that more could be done with the concept:

You could have real polyform furniture that changed not only its shape but its texture, like Karatands do, over a range from fur to stainless-steel slickness...


He pointed at a pile of baggage stacked in the corner. "Some of that is gear reclaimed from your own apt. Some of it's new. All the new stuff is trigger-rigid, like a Karatand. Make sure you're wearing some of the new clothing all the time over your vital organs. It's almost bullet-proof and an excellent insulator.

Karatands are available now - they're made of substances like d3o. Here's a picture of a modern-day Karatand:

See the article on d3o-based RibCap: Flexible-Rigid Beanie-Helmet For Snowsports to learn about modern-day shear-thickening fluids used in clothing and sportswear.

Compare this item to the flexible armor suit from Larry Niven's 1967 work Neutron Star.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Stand on Zanzibar
  More Ideas and Technology by John Brunner
  Tech news articles related to Stand on Zanzibar
  Tech news articles related to works by John Brunner

Articles related to Material
Russia's Protective Ferrite Fabric
Carbyne, The Ultimate Form Of Carbon
Liquid Metal Terminator Development Hums Right Along
Breathable Carbon Nanotube Membrane For 'Smart Uniforms'

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.





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.





More News

GyroGlove Idea For Parkinson's Was Suggested In 1926
'The gyroscope was revolving at the rate of three thousand revolutions a minute, and the slight humming was hardly noticeable...'

Otto Self-Driving Truck Kit Delivers Budweiser Beer
'Trucks gulped packages and scurried like beetles...'

Airnest Drone Flight Logging Tool
'He reached to unsnap the cartograph from his belt.'

Untethered Drone Gets Wireless Power
'We'll use my 'broomstick'.'

ESA Plans Akon Projectile To Europa ala Jules Verne
'... might [it] not be possible to project a shot up to the moon?'

Transparent OLED TV By Panasonic
It's the look of things to come.

Shape-Memory Metal Transforms Millions Of Times
'Annealed in any shape for a time, and codified, the structure of that shape is retained down to the molecules.'

Advertising Drones Hover Over Traffic In Mexico
'Blurbflies are allowd to travel the streets, buzzing their adverts alive and direct...'

How Can Amazon Patent A Voice-Controlled Drone?
''Tight mid-shot...' he told it.'

'North Sense' Wearable Piercing From Cyborg Nest
'The fingers opened from the many-scaled stellarimeter grafted onto his palm.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise | - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.