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U.S. Department of Justice Body Armor Challenge: How Long Does Body Armor Really Last?

During Friday’s Safety Datapalooza at the White House, the Department of Justice announced the Body Armor Challenge which hopes to find a technical solution to provide tools to determine the integrity of soft body armor.

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While manufacturer data is a good starting point, it does not take into account environmental and operational factors that may impact the useful lifespan of a vest. They are interested in helping a user determine at what point a vest no longer offers acceptable ballistic performance. Ultimately, this information will help user and manufacturer alike.

“The Office of Justice Programs is committed to exploring all avenues to expand its research initiatives. The Body Armor Challenge is a unique opportunity to further support the health and well-being of our public service officers by strengthening the reliability of their body armor,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary.

According to the DoJ this is a multi-phase Challenge. Submission dates are from September 14, 2012 to December 14, 2012. Winners will be announced on March 15, 2013. Competitors are encouraged to think creatively about how open data, data sharing, and crowdsourcing of data can play a role in the development, operation, and ongoing improvement of the solution. Winners of the Body Armor Challenge may have the opportunity to showcase their ideas to stakeholders participating in the Administration’s Materials Genome Initiative, which speeds the discovery, delivery and manufacturing of new materials.

Visit nij.gov/funding/2012/body-armor-challenge for complete rules and information.

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