GEARED UP: Danny Warshay is president of G-Form, a maker of "extreme" athletic- and electronic-protection equipment. The company started out making equipment for cyclists but is now getting into military gear.
PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY
By Patrick Anderson PBN Staff Writer
(Corrected, Jan. 12)
Be careful where you leave your iPad at G-Form’s Davol Square Providence office.
The maker of “extreme” athletic and electronic, protective equipment, known for pounding the delicate tablets with bowling balls and dropping them from planes, is always looking for novel and ever-more-elaborate ways to prove how much punishment its products can take.
“The torture test implies that if it can sustain a crash from 1,300 feet, then it can definitely sustain everyday use,” said G-Form President Danny Warshay, referring to a recent stunt where two iPad’s clad in G-Form sleeves emerged unscathed after being dropped by skydivers. “We have done more boring videos that demonstrate the efficacy of the product, but people like to see things dropped and smashed.”
Since the company’s founding in the fall of 2010, G-Form’s ability to mix new-media savvy with old-school publicity stunts has brought viral interest in what it’s doing, or at least what it’s going to try to destroy next.
Now G-Form, which started out making equipment for cyclists before moving to consumer electronics, is turning its hardening-upon-impact technology to military gear.
“We’re growing extremely rapidly,” said Warshay, who declined to discuss annual sales figures. “We now have a network of 25 distributors who are selling throughout the world.”
The technology at the heart of G-Form’s sleeves and pads is a chemical with “anti-Newtonian” properties that make it soft and pliable until it receives a sudden impact, at which point it instantly hardens.
G-Form founders, who also work at PolyWorks Inc. in North Smithfield, a company that specializes in using polymers and gels, realized they were able to work with the material in a number of interesting ways.
“The chemical had been used in industrial applications for years, but they were able to mold this particular material in a way that had never been done before – that was the genesis of it,” Warshay said.
Company founders with a mutual interest in cycling, including CEO Daniel Wyner, an inventor who had worked with textiles for NASA, got together with plans for making padding for bicycle seats.
They soon realized that the material might best be utilized for collision protection and began making a range of equipment, including elbow, knee, shin, foot and seat pads.