If you love driving on the edge and feel like the seatbelt may not offer sufficient preventive – and maybe even protective – measures to keep your vital organs safe from harm, this one-off project by McLaren could just be what you need.
McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT) have revealed, as requested by a single client, the product of Project Invincible, a vest-type shield made from materials that will be used in next season’s Formula 1 car.
Called the ‘Invincible Shield’, it is a fully wearable composite shield protecting the rib cage and all the vital organs in it including the heart and lungs. It does this by transferring impact and load to three safer regions of the torso that’s protected by a unique gel.
It uses high-failure strain Dyneema fibres (as used in body armour) for damage containment, a highly-toughened resin system with woven fabrics for impact resistance, Zylon fibers borrowed from Formula 1 for protection from side penetration and carbon fiber to ensure flexural rigidity and load carrying capability.
“From digital therapeutics, to tailored human performance programmes and bespoke medical devices, our aim is to innovate health care solutions that can be tailored for individual patients. The common thread in all of our projects is data. We use data to build a digital picture of how a patient is performing or recovering, and then create solutions, or in the case of the Project Invincible, devices, to aid our users,” said McLaren’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Adam Hill.
Mechanical and industrial engineers, and composite specialists from MAT and McLaren Racing was highly involved in the collaborative design, engineering and manufacturing of the ‘Invincible Shield’.
The prototype was tested in the same lab used by McLaren’s Formula 1 team for monocoque crash-tests.
“Applied Technologies has a pedigree of applying insight and technology developed from decades of elite motorsport competition, and Project Invincible is no different. The Invincible shield is made from materials that will be in next year’s Formula 1 car,” added Hill.
“Our journey started with a one-to-one meeting with the client. What were their expectations and key requirements? Our client wanted their day-to-day experience improved, requiring it to be discreet beneath a shirt, for instance. So, we spent several hours creating a detailed requirement specification to underpin the development. We spent a month alone generating and developing ideas against the brief and that set of constraints.” said project lead Dan Toon.