Design Competition Brings Sci-Fi Material to Life

A company called  d3o, which brought you the specially engineered "intelligent molecules" that make the transforming beanie/helmet and the skiing superhero suit possible, is putting on a design competition.

The d3o product 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. Designers are asked to think of new ways to incorporate this remarkable material into clothing and devices.

The competition offers two separate tracks:

  • Freedom - human body protection
    "d3o brings the possibility of freedom and spontaneity through human body protection that works with your body, to individuals and situations that were previously inconceivable. In this category we want to see ideas that liberate the individual, bringing a true sense of self-empowerment."
  • Revolution - products that change behavior and the environment
    "d3o can offer a new and revolutionary perspective to countless products, environments and individuals."
Do they have prizes? You bet - $5,500 first prize money for each of the two categories described above.

Now's your chance to bring these science fiction ideas to life:

Or, combine d3o with these real-world materials to invent your own future: The company will begin accepting submissions starting on August 15th, 2006; click through to the d3o design competition site. The competition will close at the end of September, so don't wait too long.

(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from - where science meets fiction.)