BYU Develops Origami-Inspired Bulletproof Shield to Protect Police

PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - When you think of origami, bulletproof probably doesn't come to mind. But for engineers at Brigham Young University, it did. Professors and researchers were able to take the ancient art and construct a deployable barrier that is able to stop bullets from several types of handguns.

During testing, the barrier successfully stopped bullets from 9 mm, .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum pistols.

"Even at the places where we have creases to make it fold, those are still areas with 12 continuous layers of Kevlar. And so even at those places that looked like a weak point, actually were able to withstand a .44 Magnum," explained Dr. Larry L. Howell, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University.

While working alongside law enforcement, researchers noticed that the current shields used to protect officers are flat and often too heavy--which means they're not as portable as officials would like. 

"To be able to take these discoveries we've made through our fundamental research to be able to apply that in an area that can make a positive difference in the world and address a real societal need," said Howell.

In addition to protecting law enforcement, Howell told ABC4 Utah that the bulletproof barriers could be used in schools and for people wounded in an emergency situation.

"In the case of an active shooter these can be deployed to protect the children and other people there." 

The device is a prototype. It has received positive feedback from law enforcement but it is not currently being used by any agencies.

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