US-based engineers have created an origami-inspired lightweight bulletproof shield that can protect law enforcement and withstand shots fired from 9mm, .357 Magnum, and .44 Magnum pistols.
The new barrier can be folded compactly when not in use, making it easier to transport and deploy. When expanded, it can provide cover for officers and stop bullets from several types of handguns.
The key difference between this shield and others is its low weight — 55 pounds — and its folding mechanism, which takes a cue from origami. The shield’s made of 12 layers of bulletproof Kevlar with an aluminum core in the middle.
“We worked with a federal special agent to understand what their needs were, as well as SWAT teams, police officers and law enforcement, and found that the current solutions are often too heavy and not as portable as they would like,” said Larry Howell, professor of mechanical engineering at BYU. “We wanted to create something that was compact, portable, lightweight and worked really well to protect them.”
In addition to protecting police officers, researchers believe the barrier could be used to protect children in a school or a wounded person in an emergency situation. Although the ballistic barrier is now just in prototype form and not currently in use by any law enforcement agencies, Howell and Bateman have tested it with officers on site. The response has been positive so far.
For more on the project, visit BYU’s website.