Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire have discovered a complex elastomeric compound they call d3o that is both soft and hard.
The Ribcap is seen above. Below, the d3o 'ribs' in the cap.
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 is a combination soft, flexible beanie and tough helmet.
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:
(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from Technovelgy.com