The device, developed by Brigham Young University-a private research university in Utah-is a foldable kevlar shield created to protect officers in high-risk situations.
The new barrier can be folded compactly when not in use, making it easier to transport and deploy.
Numerous barriers and shields deployed by police boast designs unmodified for decades. The BYU-built barrier uses a Yoshimura origami crease pattern to expand around an officer, providing protection on the side in addition to protecting them in the front.
Engineering professors at Brigham Young University have designed a new bulletproof shield for law enforcement that can withstand shots fired from 9mm, .357 Magnum, and.44 Magnum pistols. These might not be as convenient as their solution, but of course, different shields can stop different types of bullets, including from rifles.
The shield is made of twelve layers of kevlar with an aluminum core.
The prototypes were constructed to be protective and stiff, while maintaining the flexibility of Kevlar fabric. Since Kevlar fabric is subject to fraying, abrasion and is sensitive to sunlight and water, the team also made a concentrated effort to reinforce it against the environment. Howell said they suspected that a bullet as big as.44 Magnum would tip over, but it didn't happen. While early in its developemnt, the shield would have implications for protecting children in a school or a wounded person in an emergency situation and that's just the beginning of its potential uses.
"The barrier is very stable, even with large bullets hitting it", he said.
The origami-inspired shield could replace conventional shields used in law enforcement that are mostly hard and rigid and weigh about 90 pounds. "Then you can easily fold it up and move it if you need to advance your position." said co-researcher Terri Bateman from BYU's engineering department.