The most expensive animal protection suit ever made, according to that bastion of knowledge, Guinness' World Records (the television version). They had a rather amusing video of this suit in action.

Apparently, the bear protection suit not only protects you from bear attacks, but also from being beaten with baseball bats, hit by cars, and clobbered by swinging logs. It also has the added bonus of making you look like Robocop.

However, it's clearly meant for research purposes only. Take this (true!) scenario as an example:

A researcher, wearing the suit, looking formidably like Robocop, lies in wait in a pile of garbage. He knows there are bears nearby, and knows that they will come to feed on the tasty refuse. He's prepared to study their behavior, with a video camera hidden nearby.
The bears approach, and appear to be surveying the territory. One of the bears pokes around in the trash heap near the researcher. Despite knowing that his suit can protect him from nuclear warfare, the researcher promptly reaches up and punches the bear in the nose.
The bear retreats, and the research is, apparently, complete.

I think that the moral of the story is, the best way to study a bear is to punch it in the nose. Why do I get the suspicion that this was funded by the government?

The Ursus Mark VI is a suit made of titanium, chain mail, and fireproof rubber. This suit is designed to protect its wearer from bear attacks, and is remarkably effective. The person wearing the suit looks like a character in a futuristic war movie, or something out of Mech Warrior. It has been under development for seven years and costs $150,000 because it has to be custom made to each person who wears it. That person cannot gain or lose any significant amount of weight or height. It is 7ft, 2in with the camera attachment on the head and weighs 147 pounds. It has its own battery-powered twin-fan ventilation system which draws cool air into the helmet and vents warm air; A voice-activate two way radio; A helmet-mounted mini-camera with wide-angle viewscreen; A voice activated recording device (black box) in the head piece to record bear sounds or, in the event of a failure in the Ursus Mark VI, last words; A "blaster can" on the right arm which sprays a 15 inch diameter cone of bear repelent up to 15 feet for 7 seconds; and finally, a "bite bar" pressure sensative strip on the right arm to measure the biting power of a bear.

The suit was tested in the following ways:

  • Truck: 18 collisions with a three-ton truck travelling at 30 miles per hour.
  • Rifle: Shot at with a 12 gauge shotgun, using "Sabot" slugs
  • Arrows: Armour-piercing arrows, fired from a 100 lb. bow
  • Tree Trunk: Two collisions with a 300 lb. tree from a height of 30 ft.
  • Bikers: Assault by three bikers -- the largest, 6 ft. 9 in. tall, weighing 385 lbs. Biker armaments: splitting ax, planks, and baseball bat.
  • Escarpment: Jumped off escarpment, falling over 150 ft.

There have only been 3 of these suits sold, mostly to zoos. The proud creator of the Ursus Mark VI is Canadian -- and nuttier than the Crocodile Hunter. The suit is best known for its appearance on the television show Guiness's World Records where most of the aforementioned tests were shown, recorded on home video. A picture of the Ursus Mark VI can be seen at:

Most of this information taken from The rest is from memory and a conversation I had with some other techs at the office today.

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