For soldiers under heavy fire, opening up a can of whoop-ass may not always be possible. But how about opening up a can of insta-shield?

The government's cutting-edge research org known as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is accepting research proposals for a method to deploy a material that would expand instantly to several times larger than its original size and serve as a bulletproof barrier. Not only that, such a wall could also be used to secure an area or restrict access.

Ideally, the insta-shield, known to DARPA as BlockADE for “Block Access to Deny Entry," would be contained in a canister no larger than 11 inches in diameter and 78 inches in length and would weigh no more than 300 pounds.

It's unclear what kind of material would comply with DARPA'S specs and “provide expansion ratios of several orders of magnitude, while maintaining sufficient properties to block or slow access to a specified area…."

But maybe something along the lines of this crazy new material being developed by a team of researchers from MIT and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The ultra-lightweight material is nearly as light as air, but is able to withstand a load 160,000 times its own weight.

It will be interesting to see what comes out of this request and how many super-heroes it will spawn.

via iO9 and Dvice

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