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Seashell's secret to bending light

Nature's mother-of-pearl seashell is helping Australian scientists unlock the secrets of bending light. Discover how, and hear about some practical applications of bending light. Find out why the US Air Force is excited about this new discovery from nature. What might it mean for the future of combat?

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Kiribati armour, late 19th century

This is a suit of armour made in Kiribati in the late 19th century. The body and head sections are made from the mid-ribs of coconut fronds closely bound with sennit (plaited coconut fibre). On the side flaps are diamonds of human hair. The neck and head protector is a complex construction that flares outwards and upwards ...

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Japanese samurai armour (Sendai-do no gusoko), c1735

This is a suit of samurai armour made around 1735. The body is made from black lacquered steel on leather, while the helmet (kabuto) and face mask (yodare kake) are made from beaten metal. The armour includes shoulder guards (sode), sleeves (kote), gloves, thigh guards (haidate) and shin guards (suneate). Chainmail has ...

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Samurai armour and horse tack, c1775

This is a suit of Japanese armour and horse tack that was made during the Edo period in Japan, in about 1775. The armour bears an insignia thought to be that of the samurai officer Koma Kaemon of the Bizen clan. It consists of 47 pieces, including body armour, underclothing and horse tack. The body armour components include ...

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Aboriginal 'broad' shields, 1800s

This is a group of four wooden Aboriginal shields from south-eastern Australia, collected in the 19th century. This type of shield is rounded and tapers to a point at either end. Each shield is uniquely carved and painted by its maker. The shields range in size from 87.4 cm to 133.0 cm in length, 20 cm to 28.5 cm in width ...

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Aboriginal parrying shields, 1800s

This is a group of three wooden Aboriginal shields from south-eastern Australia, collected in the 19th century. These shields are long and narrow with a wedge- or elliptical-shaped body. Each shield has been uniquely carved and painted by its maker. The shields range in size from 87.0 cm to 89.6 cm in length, 11.0 cm to ...

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'The story of the Kelly gang', 1906 - asset 1

This is a still from the 1906 movie 'The story of the Kelly gang', the first feature-length dramatised film made in Australia and possibly the world. The still shows the character of Ned Kelly advancing, staggering under the weight of his armour and the impact of the police bullets.