Scientists have created an origami-inspired, lightweight bulletproof shield that can protect law enforcement officials from gunfire.
The new barrier can be folded compactly when not in use, making it easier to transport and deploy.
When expanded – which takes only five seconds – it can provide cover for officers and stop bullets from several types of handguns.
Scientists wanted to create something that was compact, portable, lightweight and worked really well to protect law officers.
Working with law enforcement agencies, researchers learned much of what is currently used has not evolved much from medieval times: shields that are mostly flat, awkward plates that cover only one person.
Current barriers are so heavy and cumbersome they make it difficult for officers to move into position.
The barrier researchers designed is made of 12 layers of bulletproof Kevlar and weighs only 24 kg.
The 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.
In testing, the barrier successfully stopped bullets from 9 mm, 0.357 Magnum and 0.44 Magnum pistols.
A 0.44 Magnum would actually tip it over, but that did not happen.
The barrier is very stable, even with large bullets hitting it.
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.
It goes from a very compact state that you can carry around in the trunk of a car to something one can take with them, open up and take cover behind to be safe from bullets.
Then one can easily fold it up and move it if you need to advance your position.
In addition to protecting police officers, researchers believe the barrier could be used to protect children in a school or a wounded person in an emergency situation.
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