New origami-inspired shield deflects handgun bullets

"The barrier is very stable, even with large bullets hitting it," said engineer Larry Howell.
By Brooks Hays  |  Feb. 17, 2017 at 2:21 PM
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Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Engineers at Brigham Young University have developed an origami-like, collapsable shield capable of stopping bullets fired by pistols and revolvers, including the 9 mm, .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum.

The shield can be folded up like an umbrella, making it easier to transport. The bulletproof shield can be deployed in just five seconds.

"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," Larry Howell, professor of mechanical engineering at BYU, explained in a news release. "We wanted to create something that was compact, portable, lightweight and worked really well to protect them."

Many of the barriers and shields deployed by police boast designs unmodified for decades. They're generally large, flat and cumbersome, some weighing 100 pounds.

The new model weighs just 55 pounds. It's constructed with 12 layers of bulletproof Kevlar and a common origami creasing pattern, allowing it to fold into a more manageable size. The shield proved surprisingly durable during tests.

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

In addition to protecting police officers, the shield could be deployed by children in a school shooting or an injured victim during an emergency situation.

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