IG NOBEL UPDATE--Troy and the Magnetic Blast Cushion


Troy and the Magnetic Blast Cushion

The further adventures of Ig Nobel winner Troy Hurtubise

by Alice Shirrell Kaswell, AIR staff

Troy Hurtubise, circa 2002.This suit -- and its even-more-famous predecessor -- led to the development of Troy's magnetic blast cushion.

There is startling new news from the inventive mind and workshop of Troy Hurtubise. The news is, in a phrase: magnetic blast cushions.

This is another thrilling new chapter in our continuing series of reports about the inventively adventurous exploits of Troy Hurtubise. Troy is the winner of the 1998 Ig Nobel Prize in the field of Safety Engineering. His Ig Nobel citation reads:

Troy Hurtubise, of North Bay, Ontario, for developing, and personally testing a suit of armor that is impervious to grizzly bears.

Investigative reporter Phil Novak of Baytoday.ca has kindly let us reprint here his report (to see the original report --with photos -- click here):

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New Invention Will Save Lives, Hurtubise Says
by Phil Novak
Thursday, May 13, 2004

North Bay inventor Troy Hurtubise built his Ursus-series suits to protect himself against grizzly bears.

Hurtubise now wants to protect other people and has put the Ursus Mark-VI and Mark-VII up for sale on Ebay to finance his latest invention, the magnetic blast cushion.

He says the cushions, made with specially treated Kevlar, ceramics, metal alloys and the force-absorbing system from the Mark-VII, will shield soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq from roadside bombs that have already claimed military lives in both countries.

Herculean protection

The cushions can be attached to jeeps, Humvees and other light personnel carriers using magnets. Passengers in the vehicles would also be able to sit on the cushions for added protection.

“They’re able to not only withstand bullets and explosions, but also provide protection from blunt trauma,” said Hurtubise, 39.

“It’s Herculean protection with simplicity.”

Motivated by brother

Hurtubise plans to manufacture 500 of the cushions, 450 of which will go to Canadian troops in Afghanistan.

An American military contact Hurtubise has made will take the other 50 to a select group of US marines in Iraq.

Hurtubise has also offered to equip the entire Canadian contingent in Afghanistan with the blast cushions, free of charge.

"This is for our boys over there," he said.

Each cushion costs about $350 to produce, and Hurtubise said it would take about 34 to cover a military jeep at a total cost of about $12,000.

The bags weigh about seven kg each and covering a Humvee, Hurtubise said, would only add an additional 300 kilograms to the vehicle's weight.

Hurtubise originally wanted to sell his suits to raise money to build the Ursus Mark-VIII.

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We will bring you further developments as we become aware of them.


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