Mythbuster Developing U.S. Military Armor

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Wacky experiments aside, the dynamic duo's technical, up-close-and-personal work with TNT and C4 explosives has garnished the attention of the U.S. government, debunking the myth that playing with dynamite leads to a dead-end career.

Because of his explosive resume and MythBusters' idiosyncratic settings, Jamie Hyneman has recently been working with the Office of Naval Research to develop lightweight armor for U.S. military vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

"We had a lot of experience in the show dealing with explosives, obviously in ways and situations that are outside the norm. This is very revealing, because when you see something outside the norm you get to see what the boundaries of the phenomenon are," Hyneman told The Register.

"I'd looked at those and formed a lot of questions in my head. When I saw the opportunity to do research on a topic, I got very active and applied a lot of what I'd learned on the show."

Hyneman's task was to devise an ultra-lightweight armor that wouldn't weigh-down vehicles, but was still strong enough to withstand shrapnel and blast damage from powerful improvised explosive devices (IED's) while protecting those inside the vehicle from the blast's pressure wave.

Hyneman has previously worked with the military when he designed a robotic human avatar for new army medics to practice on. The realistic avatar groans and spurts blood until a successful tourniquet is applied, which helps prepare new medics for the gore they might experience in the field. The avatar is being manufactured "by the dozen", Hyneman told The Register, and is being used for training in the Middle East.

Image: FilmMagic