Military

Origami-inspired bulletproof shield can stop a .44 Magnum

Origami-inspired bulletproof s...
Fully deployed, the shield can protect two to three individuals 
Fully deployed, the shield can protect two to three individuals 
View 4 Images
Fully deployed, the shield can protect two to three individuals 
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Fully deployed, the shield can protect two to three individuals 
Weighing only 55 lb (25 kg), the shield can be easily deployable by a single person
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Weighing only 55 lb (25 kg), the shield can be easily deployable by a single person
The origami-inspired design quickly unfolds in just five seconds
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The origami-inspired design quickly unfolds in just five seconds
The design of the lightweight bulletproof shield is inspired by a Yoshimura origami crease pattern
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The design of the lightweight bulletproof shield is inspired by a Yoshimura origami crease pattern
View gallery - 4 images

The ancient art of origami has been inspiring engineers and designers for decades. The principles behind this Japanese folding technique have been appropriated by everyone from solar array designers for implementation in space to medical engineers creating ingestible robotics. Now a team at Brigham Young University (BYU) has created a lightweight bulletproof shield inspired by a Yoshimura origami crease pattern.

After consulting with law enforcement and several federal departments, professor of mechanical engineering Larry Howell and his BYU team realized that current bulletproof shields and barriers, which are heavy, cumbersome and lack portability, were well overdue for an update.

In the quest for something lighter and more compact that would still provide protection from bullets, the team developed an innovative new shield design made of 12 layers of bulletproof kevlar that takes only fives seconds to deploy. At only 55 lb (25 kg) the barrier is almost half the weight of current steel-based shields and can safely protect two to three people at once.

Weighing only 55 lb (25 kg), the shield can be easily deployable by a single person
Weighing only 55 lb (25 kg), the shield can be easily deployable by a single person

"It goes from a very compact state that you can carry around in the trunk of a car to something you can take with you, open up and take cover behind to be safe from bullets," says Terri Bateman, BYU adjunct professor of engineering. "Then you can easily fold it up and move it if you need to advance your position."

During testing, the researchers found the shield to be even more successful than they had initially predicted, stopping bullets from 9mm, .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum handguns.

"Those are significant handguns with power," says Howell. "We suspected that something as large as a .44 Magnum would actually tip it over, but that didn't happen."

Currently still in prototype form, the team is continuing to work with law enforcement agencies and has tested it with officers on site who have been impressed. The team also believes the barrier could have broader uses, such as for safety in schools or protecting the wounded in emergencies.

Notch yet another innovative design solution up to the ancient art of origami.

Check out the team explaining and testing the design in the video below.

Source: Brigham Young University

Bullet-proof origami: folding Kevlar shield designed by BYU mechanical engineers

View gallery - 4 images
5 comments
Bob
How about adding a small bullet proof window so that you don't have to expose yourself to see what the opponent is doing???
FabianLamaestra
This was on NOVA last night I think. Very cool tech indeed.
Recon7
I've got a case of API in 7.62 that says ALL modern body armor is a moot point.
ljaques
Pretty cool, but (at what appears to be NIJ Level IIIa) if it doesn't stop high powered rifle rounds, it won't be all that protective in the field. That's why the Level IV ceramic plates were rolled out to our soldiers. Perhaps these shields will slow down rifle bullets enough to lower injuries, but I'd like to have seen a test with an AK47 or .308 hunting rifle with ballistic gel (or standard vests) hung behind it to determine real-life levels of safety for our men in blue. And I'd like to have seen a multi-perp defense, where several of the guys at the range were firing at once, like real situations at bank robberies, etc. That vid was a dog and pony show (sales tool), showing only the positive factors of the shield. @Bob, yes, a window would be a plus.
Wombat56
This would be intended for police operations where hand guns would be the majority of weapons used. A ballistic vest won't stop a high velocity rifle round either, but the cops are still happy to wear them.