Engineers have designed a collapsible, origami-like shield that can stop bullets fired by handguns and revolvers, including a 9 mm, a .357 Magnum and a .44 Magnum. The shield can also be folded up like an umbrella, making it easy to carry around. It can also be deployed in just five seconds.
Larry Howell, a professor of mechanical engineering at Brigham Young University who headed the design, said, “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.”
We wanted to create something that was compact, portable, lightweight and worked really well to protect them.
Most of the shields and barriers used by law enforcement are designs that have not been modified for decades, and are commonly made of heavy steel, UPI reports. They are usually large, flat and difficult to transport, some weighing as much as 100 pounds.
This new model weighs only 55 pounds. The shield is made from 12 layers of bulletproof Kevlar with an aluminum core in the middle, and was designed using a common origami creasing pattern, so that it folds into a more manageable size. The design tested very well, proving incredibly durable.
Howell said, “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.”
Aside from protecting police officers, the barrier can be used to keep children in school safe during shootings, or shield injured victims during emergencies. The shield is also capable of guarding multiple people when deployed, making it an excellent defensive tool for police officers when responding to crime scenes.
The shield is not in use by any agencies, as it’s still currently being prototyped.