In the course of my career I have had endured much personal pain in order to test the products I have been charged with developing. But most of mine was metaphorical compared to the man in this video from SKY News who volunteers to get beaten with a shovel to demonstrate his new "super foam" product. See for yourself:
The secret formula inside the foam, made by a company called D3O, means the greater the impact the more resilient it becomes. In its raw state, the substance looks like translucent orange putty which you can squeeze and shape without much effort. But if you strike it hard with a mallet, instead of splattering all over the place, it tenses up the same way Harry Houdini would firm up his abdominal muscles after inviting someone to punch him in the stomach.
Recently, US ski teams tried using suits containing D3O foam which successfully prevented serious injury when team members slammed into fence posts and trees at speeds in excess of 60mph. Some police forces in the USA have also tried using it in the gloves for riot policemen.
The foam is only effective when placed against a part of the body where the bone is close to the surface, such as an elbow, knee or skull. What it cannot do is provide any protection for areas where there is no immediate resistance, such as the abdomen.
It's still a pretty awesome demo. Check out the rather nice product website for D3O here.