Porton Down bio-terror tech re-used in odour-proof pants
Defending against the enemy within
It's well known that military projects can sometimes yield valuable spin-off technologies for civilian markets.
For instance, missile programmes played a key role in early integrated-circuit production, laying the foundations for today's digital hardware. Likewise, Pentagon-funded researchers were instrumental in setting up the forerunner to today's internet.
But until last week, it was much less common to see undeniably positive, feel-good innovations coming from the nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC)* terror-defence industries. Efforts to repel NBC threats have included the hotly-disputed Missile Defence programme, the oft-maligned Department of Homeland Security, and its various monitoring initiatives, etc etc.
Just last weekend, the actual Pentagon itself was involved in a "Urban Shield Biological Attack Test", which simulated "a biological attack in the Pentagon South Parking Lot". Many see defences against this type of outrage as necessary, but few would find such initiatives as personally, immediately useful as computers, say; or the internet.
But now all that has changed, as NBC defensive technology has been adapted in a way which could benefit us all. Namely, by removing the evil smells from, erm, personal emissions.
The Flat-D™ in-pant flatulence deodorising filter system ("revolutionising the personal hygiene industry around the world") could be the first successful civilian spin-off of NBC defence technology.
According to the Flatulence Deodoriser, Inc website, the Flat-D "absorbs the intestinal gas odour right at the source before it gets into the air, and others can smell it".
The Flat-D is a "three-ply activated charcoal cloth pad, that is secured inside the underwear...[it] isn't bulgy or detectible".
The manufacturers inform us that "activated charcoal cloth was originally developed by the British Chemical Defense Establishment as a highly efficient filter medium for protection against nerve gas and other highly toxic vapors that might be used in chemical warfare. This is the reason for its outstanding advantage as a decontaminating material."
And indeed, the Flat-D folks are quite correct: it was good old British boffins at Porton Down who developed the kit which may soon be protecting us all from the enemy within, so to speak.
Flat-D points out that its stink-busting kit "is breathable, lightweight, reusable, washable," and - perhaps best of all - "easily installed".
The inventor of the Flat-D, Brian Conant, says he came up with the idea while serving in the Hawaii National Guard. According to the company account: "During a simulated Chemical attack, Brian and few other soldiers were tasked to complete their mission, while wearing chemical protective clothing. While wearing the clothing he released gas and noticed that he couldn't smell any odour, nor could anyone else."
From there it was a short step to deploying the Porton Down war tech in the service of peace and goodwill among men. (And women. Not that they would ever need such a thing).
"Remember you can hide the sound of a fart by making a louder noise, but you cannot hide the odour of flatulence," Flat-D says.
Not until now, anyway. ®
*Or, lately, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN).