A fun thing to do at CES: wrap orange goo around your finger and whack it with a mallet

Popular Science visits a goo hawker at CES 2012. (Via Salon)


  1. Think they have that backwards, I would assume you want the material to go soft in an impact to absorb the shock. It’s the sharp blow that shatters screens, not soft ones.
    That said, getting a handful of the stuff as a desk toy would be pretty awesome.

    1. You’re right that a sharp blow would be transmitted through a hard cover.  But a soft cover is obviously no good unless it’s very thick – the blow isn’t transmitted, but the mallet doesn’t get stopped.

      I think the trick is that the material hardens locally around the impact site and diffuses the energy into the surrounding soft parts.

    1. I have a pound of orange silly putty that looks pretty much the same.
      Silly putty will shatter if you hit it hard enough with a hammer.
      One way to look at it is that in a very short time-span it behaves like a solid. A very quick hammer strike.  Over longer time-span it behaves more like a liquid.  Where it oozes and you can easily stretch it slowly.

  2. I like the little touch that they give them both the same colour to imply they’re essentially the same, yet one’s a solid and one’s a liquid (Or non-Newtonian fluid) so they’ll have completely different properties.

    1. Agreed.  Besides that phone case is how thick exactly?  Even turning into a more “solid” solid there isn’t very much material to absorb an impact.  I certainly think it be a fine and dandy phone protector, but I doubt it be much better than other things on the market.

      1. I had a look at their other products and they make motorcycle gear, knee-pads for construction workers etc. There’s a huge market for something like this. Very interesting. Soon, this will be bullet proof. I wonder how much it weighs. 

    2.  Perhaps it’s a way of demonstrating the underlying properties of the material without a long, complicated (and trade-secret revealing) explanation of the actual product?

  3. I’d like to see him wrap his finger in the thiner material that he says is actually in the phone case and hit it with the same hammer……..

  4. So, is the legitimate? Or is the business plan is something like, “Find non-newtonian putty, make it orange. Take generic phone protectors, add trace amounts of putty, make them orange. Make infomercial style claims about their similar properties, and sell a bunch before people look too closely”

  5. I totally *smashed* the competition a few years ago in a neighborhood egg-drop contest by suspending the egg in a baggie in the middle of some oobleck (corn starch & water).  It escaped perfectly unscathed.

    Unfortunately about half of peoples’ eggs survived intact too, they weren’t dropped from very high, and parachutes etc. were allowed.  So about half of us smashed the competition in a dozen-way tie for first place.  But I was pretty sure mine was the awesomest.  As did everyone else, probably.

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