Engineers at Brigham Young University in Provo have created a foldable, bulletproof shield designed to protect law enforcement.
It’s known as the “origami shield,” because the design is in fact based on an origami pattern.
Terri Bateman, an engineering professor at BYU who was involved with the project, says the design process began with a question.
“What cool, strange, interesting patterns can we use to create new unique devices?” says Bateman.
The team settled on a design known as Yoshimura origami. It led to a 55-pound, 12 layer Kevlar shield that folds out like an accordion.
It’s designed to protect up to three police officers as they crouch behind it. And it’s curved shape offers cover from three different angles. Which beats the traditional, flat ballistic shield.
When it came time to test the bulletproof origami at a shooting range, Bateman was concerned. She worried the structure wouldn’t stay standing after fire.
"It absorbed the bullet and stayed standing." says Bateman. "So we were really pleased with that.”
Bateman says the shield has been patented and while it’s still in development she hopes it will be made available to police departments in the near future.