As the recent controversy over Dragon Skin body armor begins to fade in our memories, a story of hope that was passed over in the national media caught my eye. From Bartlesville, Oklahoma, the Army Times reports, hails high school sophomore Melissa Carvell.

Without the high-tech facilities available to the existing players in the body armor racket, Miss Carvell had to get creative to test her creation. In order to simulate small arms fire, the enterprising lass dropped AK-47 projectiles from varying heights, simulating various impact velocities.

Entering the materials and bioengineering category at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in mid-May in Albuquerque, N.M, Miss Carvell had sculpted an ingenious upgrade to current ceramic based armor systems. Her carbon fiber reinforcing technique, although it improved the strength of the armor by more than 8000 times, only merited a second-place award.

Fortunately, Miss Carvell’s work also garnered some handsome scholarship money from the Air Force and Navy.

For those unfamiliar with the Dragon Skin issue, Defense Department sources claim that they purchased the armor system because the maker’s claimed it met or exceeded certain testing criteria.

However, once the system was tested by military personnel, it failed to meet advertised expectations. In fact, of nine model submissions to the National Institute for Justice testing facility since May of 2006, five have failed and two have yielded inconclusive results.

Maybe Miss Carvell should send her resume to Pinnacle Armor. The California-based company seems to need a little help. She could probably work part-time and fix all their problems for them.

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