Scientists Create Origami Inspired Bulletproof Shield To Protect Police Officers

Posted: Feb 18 2017, 1:57pm CST | by , Updated: Feb 18 2017, 2:01pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Scientists Create Origami Inspired Bulletproof Shield to Protect Police Officers
Credit: Brigham Young University
 

New foldable shield can provide cover for officers by stopping bullets from several types of handguns

Engineers working at Brigham Young University have developed a new lightweight bulletproof shield by combining Japanese paper folding technique called origami. The shield is strong enough to stop speeding bullets in their tracks and could revolutionize police officer’s safety. 

The new bulletproof shield is foldable and thus easy to carry. It takes only five seconds to expand a shield and can resist the penetration of bullets from several types of shotguns. 

The origami-inspired shield could replace conventional shields used in law enforcement that are mostly hard and rigid and weigh about 90 pounds.

"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."

As current shields are so heavy, they are difficult to transport and deploy. Moreover, they cannot protect more than one person at the time. The new origami-based shield is made of 12 layers of bulletproof Kevlar material and weighs only 55 pounds – almost half the weight of the existing shields.

Once explained, it can cover three officers and absorb the impact of bullets fired from different types of guns. In testing, it successfully stopped bullets from 9 mm, .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum pistols.

“Those are significant handguns with power," said Howell. "We suspected that something as large as a .44 Magnum would actually tip it over, but that didn't happen. The barrier is very stable, even with large bullets hitting it."

Another goal here was to make a bulletproof shield that could not interrupt the stance of a police officer. While early in its developemnt, the shield would have implications for protecting children in a school or a wounded person in an emergency situation and that's just the beginning of its potential uses.

"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. Then you can easily fold it up and move it if you need to advance your position." said co-researcher Terri Bateman from BYU’s engineering department. 

"There are a lot of risks to law personnel and we feel like this particular product can really make a difference and save a lot of lives. It makes us feel like we're really making a difference in the world."

 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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