The ancient art of origami has been inspiring engineers and designers for decades. The principles behind this Japanese folding technique have been appropriated by everyone from solar array designers for implementation in space to medical engineers creating ingestible robotics. Now a team at Brigham Young University (BYU) has created a lightweight bulletproof shield inspired by a Yoshimura origami crease pattern.
After consulting with law enforcement and several federal departments, professor of mechanical engineering Larry Howell and his BYU team realized that current bulletproof shields and barriers, which are heavy, cumbersome and lack portability, were well overdue for an update.
In the quest for something lighter and more compact that would still provide protection from bullets, the team developed an innovative new shield design made of 12 layers of bulletproof kevlar that takes only fives seconds to deploy. At only 55 lb (25 kg) the barrier is almost half the weight of current steel-based shields and can safely protect two to three people at once.