Our research focusses on using off-the-shelf, inexpensive materials to create armor and protective gear that is substantially lighter, yet confers enhanced or novel performance. A primary focus is on certain soft polymers having specific dynamic properties on impact and undergo a phase change from compliant and dissipative to highly rigid. To address different threats and requirements, the basic design can incorporate foam, ceramic, metal, and structural elements. Applications run the gamut from light vehicle armor, combat helmets, body armor, transparent armor, amphibious vehicles, hardened targets, etc. Military and civilian usage are being pursued.