Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/11/19/tech21_d3o/

Hi-tech Silly Putty reformed as gadget protector

Malleable orange goo absorbs impact

By James Sherwood

Posted in Hardware, 19th November 2009 11:58 GMT

What is the best way to protect your laptop or smartphone? By covering them in bubble wrap? Or by restricting their use only to well-padded areas? No. A hi-tech Silly Putty is your best bet, according to manufacturer Tech21.

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D3O in its raw, stretchy form

Tech21 last night launched its range of smartphone and laptop cases incorporating D3O – “an intelligent material that locks its molecules together on impact to absorb the energy of a shock”.

The material supposedly provides between 140 and 221 per cent more protection for a mobile device or laptop than existing cases can, Tech21 claimed.

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D3O snaps in two when when pulled apart quickly

Register Hardware has examined D3O in its raw form (shown above) and the material’s similarity to Silly Putty is uncanny. Pull D3O apart slowly and it stretches out like Blu-Tack. But pull the stuff apart quickly and it instantly becomes harder and breaks into two pieces.

It’s this fast change in structure that Tech21 claimed makes the material perfect for protecting gadgets from accidental drops and potentially harmful impacts.

The company has launched three iPhone cases and two laptop bags – all of which incorporate D3O at impact points, such as corners.

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Tech21's iPhone cases protect the smartphone using d3o goo

D3O iPhone cases cost between £25 and £30 ($42-50/€28-33), while the laptop bags – suitable for machines measuring between 10in and 17in – cost upwards of £25. All styles are available now from the likes of Comet and PC World. ®