The event I attended last month sponsored by Rawlings, the sports equipment manufacturer, was mostly focused on football helmet and helmet safety but helmets didn’t interest my twelve-year-old son nearly as much as a little plastic handful of something called Zoombang.
Zoombang is a malleable plastic with a consistency similar to Silly Putty.
It’s designed to absorb blows or force. Rawlings seals it inside air-tight plastic sheaths (otherwise it dries out) and sells shirts and pads with Zoombang. The Zoombang demonstrated at the event last month was in putty form and my son volunteered to be a test subject while the presenter spread it over his hand and then hit it with a hammer.
My son was fascinated when his hand didn’t feel a thing and I found him later playing with the Zoombang sample by himself, seeing if it would protect him from being hurt no matter how hard he smashed the hammer on his protected hand.
Rawlings sells packages and sells Zoombang for a number of uses, including protective sport shirts, pads for industrial workers and equipment for law enforcement and military officers. It’s also used by Hollywood stunt coordinators.
But I think Rawlings is being short-sighted. There are more possible uses than those.
1. A Toy.
A dangerous toy, no doubt, since my kids probably wouldn’t be the only ones who’d want to know how hard they could hit their sibling and have it not hurt.
2. Superhero Gear.
True, a fictional use but, hey, I’m tired of all the references to Kevlar and, besides a Zoombang shirt would hug the body much better than even lightweight Kevlar, thus not interfering so much with the skin-tight suits they all wear.
3. Boxing gloves.
One can only imagine the advantage a fighter might have wearing gloves with a small pack of zoombang enclosed. It’d work for traditional fighters or even mixed-marital arts fighters. They could use tape to wrap a small pad on the top of their hand.
The only drawback is that I’m sure it would probably be illegal to use in a fight. But it could be used for sparring.
Modern-day knights who attend Ren Faires could definitely use some Zoombang shirts and pads to protect them while jousting.
5. Laptop protectors.
Ever worry about dropping your laptop? Think of how much protection a Zoombang laptop holder could be.