It's a staple in superhero stories with hypertech, for people to have some sort of serious inertia dampening technology. Either explicitly, or as a logical necessity.
For instance having an iron man suit, or some other practically indestructible armor, won't prevent you from being totally liquified by missiles or just getting smashed against a barrier at massive speed, but of course that's often not what we see.

So the question arises, assuming some sort of phlebotom based technology arises, that can encase a container and totally protect anything inside against arbitrarily high acceleration and deceleration forces (though the container itself is provided no special protection).
How would such a technology affect the world, and what would its applications be?

  • Let's assume encasing a human sized armor in this stuff would take tens of thousands of dollars. With price increasing not quite linearly with volume of the affected container.

  • Let's also say that night indestructible materials exist to make containers out of, but unless you have access to technology that only mad scientist's have, it would cost billions just to make one set of armor out of it. Of course plenty of people (read superheros/villains) also have access to magical or hypertech items that are indestructible but can't be duplicated.
    For the purposes of this question let's only worry about hyper-durable materials if they are being used in conjunction with the inertia dampening technology.

Assume this is your standard superhero setting. Basically like the modern world, but with lots of superpowered threats and mad scientists, that are prevented from causing total anarchy by their benevolent counterparts.
There is plenty of hypertech used by individuals, but somehow events usually conspire to keep it from getting into more than mad scientists and superhuman hands (with the premise of this question being something of an exception).


closed as unclear what you're asking by Mindwin, Samuel, Mołot, JDługosz, Hohmannfan Jan 10 '17 at 11:49

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Didn't you just answer your own question? $\endgroup$ – Mindwin Jan 9 '17 at 23:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Mindwin No I asked what other technologies you could make with this tech. I didn't even begin to speculate about that in my question. $\endgroup$ – Vakus Drake Jan 9 '17 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ @VakusDrake And the question is what? The "Effects of inertia dampener technology" would clearly be having the ability to reduce or remove inertia. If you're just asking for what cool stuff could we make, then this question isn't appropriate for this site. $\endgroup$ – Samuel Jan 9 '17 at 23:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Samuel As I said in the question the technology is more limited than just removing inertia. It just protects the insides of affected containers from G-forces. $\endgroup$ – Vakus Drake Jan 9 '17 at 23:36
  • $\begingroup$ @VakusDrake It's a gravity shield too? Or are you just trying to restate that there is no inertia? Or is there? $\endgroup$ – Samuel Jan 9 '17 at 23:40

What is called "inertia dampening technology" is really a mechanism that keeps whatever is inside the "magic" container is always at relative rest with respective to the walls irrespective of changes of momentum, velocity, and acceleration is experienced by the container itself.

This means its mechanism is more than a motion compensation field. Motion is a concept that's more slippery than is usually thought.

What can be done with motion compensation (MC) containers? Jules Verne-type space guns, for starters, and lithobraking, i.e., stopping by crashing into the Moon and planets when you arrive at your destination.

You could create the most spectacular fairground rises in human history. Crash into walls or the ground at hypersonic speed. Skydive without a parachute. Fall off mountains with impunity.

Applications in the military are trivially obvious. Bullet-proofing, artillery-proof, possibly blast-proof, great of tank and battleship armour. Aircraft can be made bullet-, missile-, anti-aircraft-weapon-proof.

Airliners can crash in perfect safety and everybody can walk away unscathed. You might be able to make indestructible pressure vessels too.

The limiting factors will be ultimately the destructibility of the container itself and the materials out of which it is made.

  • $\begingroup$ Turbulence free air travel. Also, speed bumps are no longer such a nuisance. Sounds like a game changer to me. $\endgroup$ – Samuel Jan 10 '17 at 6:49
  • $\begingroup$ You do mention the limiting factor is the destructibility of the container, but that is also a significant limiter on the things you mentioned. For instance you could wear armor when skydiving, but the armor would need to be able to avoid deforming and crushing you when you hit the ground. The same thing applies to crashing vehicles into things at massive speeds, you still need a hollow container that can handle that in the first place. $\endgroup$ – Vakus Drake Jan 10 '17 at 6:50
  • $\begingroup$ @VakusDrake That's why destructibility is a limiting factor. Ideally the MC effect would apply to the container itself. Otherwise many applications will lead to jam in a can. Massive incentive to build better containers. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jan 10 '17 at 6:56

I think its primary applications would be safety, transport/logistics and military.

I imagine all luxury cars would come equipped with this technology, it's like the next step beyond airbags. Imagine being able to get up and walk away from any car accident (well, most car accidents anyway, diving into a lake or over a land mine notwithstanding)

One of the main drawbacks of so-called hyperloop trains is that you have HUUUUGE turning circles (tens of kilometers) unless you want to make the occupants pass out. With inertial dampeners, you could have a metro hyperloop service that accelerates like a rocket and can go round tight turns easily, imagine a public transport network where you can get anywhere in the city or suburbs in a few minutes. I'd imagine this would lead to massive cities as it basically eliminates one of the biggest issues of big cities, getting everyone from where they live (suburbs usually) to where they work (the city usually). You could have a city the size of a country and still get from one side to the other in less than an hour.

I'd imagine this'd lead to much cheaper space travel as you can now launch people and cargo with giant rail guns. Yes the rail guns are horribly expensive, but after the initial capital cost, they'd be quite cheap to run and the "shuttles" would be little more than glorified tin cans and a heat shield.

I can also see this technology going into things like bullet proof vests. See, while we can build armour that can stop some pretty heavy artillery, the momentum and kinetic energy from the impact alone is enough to shatter all your bones (so you're not full of holes, but you're still dead). Having something like this would also allow for much more maneuverable fighter jets as now you don't have much of a limit on how fast you can execute a turn (no more G-lock blackouts).

It'd probably make its inventor one of the richest people in history as you can basically charge whatever you want for it and plenty of people will still buy it because it allows them to achieve things that they couldn't do any other way. When you are the sole provider for a resource or technology, you set the market price.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm not so sure the primary limitation to much faster public transport is really the G-forces, since it seems that many forms of transit don't even reach a prolonged G of acceleration. As for personal armor, remember I said it doesn't grant any special protection to the affected container itself, so while affected bullet proof vests would provide some extra blunt force protection they will also cost thousands of dollars more, also the container needs to be rigid to really work because if not the armor will still crush you with its deformation. $\endgroup$ – Vakus Drake Jan 9 '17 at 23:27
  • $\begingroup$ @VakusDrake 1) It is the limitation. 2) If you can lessen or remove the bullet's inertia then it will cause little to no damage on impact. Why would the technology select for an inertialess suit of armor but not for the bullet entering its field of effect? $\endgroup$ – Samuel Jan 9 '17 at 23:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Samuel As I said in the question the effect doesn't protect the container itself, only the contents. So you still need to actually make containers that can withstand impacts, and not deform so as to crush its contents. $\endgroup$ – Vakus Drake Jan 9 '17 at 23:33
  • $\begingroup$ @VakusDrake I didn't mean G-forces were a limitation in general, but they would be a limitation to rolling out hypervelocity trains in tight networks. Having trains that can quickly accelerate and decelerate to supersonic speeds and can turn corners smaller than the size of the average city would make for very short travel times even in ridiculously big cities, never underestimate the economic gains from decreased travel times (I live in a city of ~4.5 million and the hour in and back everyone takes to work each day is estimated to cost several tens of billions a year in lost productivity) $\endgroup$ – Samwise Jan 9 '17 at 23:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Sam No I'm just not sure how quickly transportation would be overhauled, given both the price, and the fact it doesn't seem like they are really going as fast as they can in the first place. Of course the picture might be quite different outside the US, but in the US we haven't even really taken advantage of things like maglev trains which would make things way faster just using existing tech. $\endgroup$ – Vakus Drake Jan 9 '17 at 23:50

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.