A team of scientists invented a new type of bulletproof shield. Their source of inspiration? The ancient art of origami. They created a shield that will be both easy to carry, foldable, and very resistant.
This origami-inspired bulletproof shield is the work of a team of Brigham Young University engineering professors. The development was led by Professor Larry Howell. He was helped by Terri Bateman and other faculty and graduate students.
They set out to develop a new ballistic field. One that was easier to carry and transport. But which nonetheless was able to withstand attacks and protect the police officers. Currently, a police shield can reportedly weigh even up to 100 pounds.
As it is, the engineering professors started looking for a solution. And they drew their inspiration from a seemingly unlikely source. The ancient art of origami. But Professor Howell has used such techniques before, in other areas. For example, he used origami techniques in shrinking medical devices and NASA payloads.
For the police shield, the research team settled on applying the Yoshimura fold pattern. This was used when developing the bulletproof shield. It was applied in conjunction with 12 layers of Kevlar sheets.
An aluminum core was also used. This helped stabilize the shield. The bulletproof shield is also capable of withstanding shots fired from various types of Magnum pistols.
And it can do so whilst also being easy to carry and transport. The shield can be folded, which also makes it easier to transport inside a car. And it is also quite light, coming at up to 55 pounds.
According to Professor Howell, their target was clear. Together with his team, they set out to develop a compact bulletproof barrier, one that is easy to store and transport. But that is also very light and quick to deploy.
And the resulting bulletproof shield is reportedly all that. It is also wide enough to protect more than one officer at once. The resulting shield has already been put to several lab tests.
Nonetheless, it is still quite far from being ready to hit the streets. Prof. Howell estimates that at least 18 to 24 months if studies are still needed. After such a period, the bulletproof shield could theoretically enter mass production.
But this process in itself is one of the shield’s current issues. Presently, the materials used for just one shield come up to $800 – $1,000. In order to be used on a wide scale, their production costs would have to be brought down.
Further research could also increase the shield’s capabilities. More exactly, it could also come to support hits from rifles. Presently, it only supports handguns. Still, these are reportedly more commonly used.
The research team is also looking to develop an individual, smaller shield variant. And they are also looking at incorporating some “exotic materials”. Metallic foam or synthetic spider silk could help make a stronger shield.
As it is, this new type of bulletproof shield will have to wait some more before hitting the streets. Nonetheless, the expressed opinions seem to indicate that it will be welcomed with quite some excitement once it will start being regularly used.
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