Tech21 Shows Off a New Type of Device Protection Material

Device protection company Tech21 at Mobile World Congress had a new sort of anti-impact material to show off, which it calls FlexShock.

FlexShock is a new product in Tech21's Impactology lineup, which was previously solely comprised of D3O impact material. I first learned of D30 when shopping for motorcycle gear. The material is soft and flexible normally, but on impact it hardens and dissipates force. Protection against force traumas is critical for motorcyclists, and the same can be said for devices that are often subject to the laws of gravity.

Tech21 has made a name for itself with its iPhone D3O device cases that are sold in the Apple Store. At MWC, it's debuting several other new cases using the D3O material for certain devices that aren't even announced yet. One of the new cases that we can talk about is the Google Nexus 5, which features a clear back and D3O on the sides. This one matches the new bright red Nexus 5 quite nicely.


Now Tech21 wants to apply "Impactology" to laptop cases. While they're not toted around nearly as often as phones, some users demand some drop protection, and often these users are MacBook owners. Apple requested that any case that Tech21 designed must protect the edges of the laptop, so Tech21 designed what it calls FlexShock – a new "visco-elastic" material that not only absorbs shock but also repels it (bounces it back). There weren't any opportunities for a drop test, but the company seems confident that buyers will have reason to pay a premium over other regular plastic shells that already exist on the market. The price we were told is $89, which isn't insignificant, but might make sense for the road warrior who doesn't want to see anything bad happen to his multi-thousand dollar machine.

Finally, Tech21 showed off its anti-glare impact shield screen protector for the iPhone 5/5c/5s. Interestingly, Apple dictates that Tech21's screen protector should be anti-glare; the company had to comply so that it could sell through Apple's retail.

Those who don't own Apple products can still find Tech21 products in carrier stores like retailers Best Buy.

Check out all our Mobile World Congress 2014 coverage here!

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Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • Christopher Shaffer
    I read about a similar nano-material on Arstechnica a while back that had carbon nanotubes arranged in a mesh-like weave that would flex like a fabric, but impact or fast movement of the weave caused it to tighten up, making the surface semi-hard. Cool stuff. Chemists are becoming creative seamstresses.