Origami-inspired ballistic shield now available to police forces
Although the bulletproof shields used by police officers are definitely life-savers, the things are also quite heavy and bulky. The origami-inspired Swift Shield offers an alternative, as it folds down into a lightweight package when not in use.
Manufactured by US-based company ATCS (Advanced Technology Compliant Solutions), the device is actually the commercialized version of a prototype developed three years ago by a team at Utah's Brigham Young University.
While that first incarnation utilized Kevlar to stop bullets, however, the Swift Shield's armor plating consists of what are described as "ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene materials." Covering those materials is a waterproof, chemical-resistant and firm-yet-flexible shell made of Hypalon, which itself is a form of polyethylene.
The shield can be folded up inside a vehicle when not needed. Once it's required, though, users can quickly unfold it into a 24 by 36-inch (0.6 by 0.9-m) rectangle, providing 6 square feet (0.6 sq m) of ballistic protection. More specifically, it has an NIJ (National Institute of Justice) armor level of IIIA – this means it's able to stop .357 Sig FMJ FN (Flat Nose) bullets traveling at a velocity of about 1,470 ft/s (448 m/s), and .44 Magnum SJHP (Semi Jacketed Hollow Point) rounds travelling at 1,430 ft/s (436 m/s).
It tips the scales at a claimed 5 lb (2.3 kg), allowing officers to stay mobile.
"The Swift Shield represents a new category in personal protection in law enforcement because it is ready to deploy-and-protect any time," says Chet Linton, CEO of AEGIX Global, which will be selling the product to police forces and other groups. "Its foldable nature makes it possible to store in an officer’s car door, in between the front seats or backpack. It can be deployed on a windshield, folded in half on top of the trunk or hood of an officer’s vehicle."