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but another is "product" - a product that is going to literally give a tremendous value to the immediate user.
You have said that Point Blank has begun to provide more than just ballistic protection with some of your products - protection against other weapons' effects such as stun guns and such. Can you please talk a little bit about that if you will?
Yes, one of the things that we have recognized in law enforcement is the use of "less lethal" weapons, and the threat that that "less lethal" effect can be placed on the officer who is using it. For instance, Tasers. If a police officer gets into a fight and the Taser can be taken away from him, it can actually incapacitate the officer, which is not a situation you would want to be in. So, without adding any weight, if you can enhance your vest to the point where it becomes resistant to a Taser, you actually are going to give the end user, in this case the officer or maybe military police, an advantage in that type of situation where a Taser has been taken away from them. So we recognize that as a value-added opportunity and we were able to design that into our vest that we offer today.
It's 2010. You are presently making the best body armor in the world right now. What's the next generation of body armor going look like?
We are working on it right now. In fact, partly driven by the military, we have another funded requirement for the specifications of the next generation of body armor and as a result, we have our engineers working on new designs. From the ergonomics point of view, I think there is a tremendous value in the integration of the system, and now I say we should focus on the system. For instance, we have worked with DuPont on a pouch that would contain a lighter weight ... battery pack for the military vest. To be able to reduce the weight of the soldier and to allow him to move effectively [to] achieve the mission is critical.
Looking at it as a system, we also want to make sure it integrates well with the helmet. That is critical. So I'd say that the ergonomics is part of it, to make a vest that is usable, but on top of that we are also constantly working on new technologies ballistically. There are four major suppliers of yarn that we engage daily to look at new technologies. We are trying to reduce the weight and improve the performance of our systems, both from the technology of the yarn through the ability to convert that yarn into a ballistic material, whether it is woven or not woven, and then optimizing the combination of the hybridization of those systems inside of our vest. It is a never-ending process for us from our point of view.
What does the business of body armor and personal protections mean to you as a professional and a person?
It's a fun, exciting market-space to be in. It really is. It has all of the things that you would ever want as a research scientist. You have the ability to save lives, you have the excitement of the guns and the bullets, and the basic physics and chemistry involved in all of this. One doesn't have to go to the 12th derivative of an equation to figure out how to take the kinetic energy away from a bullet and be successful. This industry, if you think about it, is in its infancy. It has literally started as concealable body armor for law enforcement, but it didn't take off until the 1980s, and so anything that you are changing and designing today, any modern tweak that you make, has a significant impact to the end user. Whereas other industries and sciences have been around for hundreds of years in the form that they are today, we are still making tremendous advancements by sitting around and just talking about new ideas. I mean, you came up with probably the future body armor [when] ... you said what if we changed the size of the plates in the chest area versus the side area because of the amount of flexibility. That's exactly where the future of this industry is heading. It's a fun environment to be in.
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