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Bullet proof origami- folding Kevlar shield designed by BYU mechanical engineers

Engineers working on a way to keep police safe may have found the solution in an unusual place. Taking inspiration from the Japanese art of paper folding, a team of researchers have developed a lightweight shield that can stop bullets in their tracks. The ballistic barrier is made up of twelve layers of Kevlar fibre and weighs only slightly more than a large suitcase, but it can completely stop projectiles from most common handguns. The barrier was created by engineers at Brigham Young University (BYU), a private research university Utah. It 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. In testing, the barrier successfully stopped bullets from smaller 9 mm pistols, all the way up to .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum 'hand cannons'. The barrier is the brainchild of Larry Howell, professor of mechanical engineering, and his team at BYU in Utah. Gus design is made up of 12 layers of bulletproof Kevlar and weighs only 55 pounds (25 kilograms). Many of the steel-based barriers in current use approach 100 pounds. 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. In testing, the barrier successfully stopped bullets from smaller 9 mm pistols, all the way up to .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum 'hand cannons' In working with law enforcement, BYU researchers found that most of the designs which are currently used have't evolved significantly since medieval times. Most shields are flat, awkward plates of metal that cover only one person. Current barriers are so heavy and cumbersome they make it difficult for officers to move into position. The researchers constructed the barrier prototypes to be extremely stiff and protective throughout, while also maintaining the flexible qualities of Kevlar fabric so they can be folded compactly. 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. 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. Although the ballistic barrier is still a prototype, the response from law enforcement agencies who have tested is has been positive. Dr Howell is leading the team behind the innovation. He said: 'We worked with a federal special agent to understand what their needs were, as well as SWAT teams, police officers and law enforcement, and found that the current solutions are often too heavy and not as portable as they would like.' 'We wanted to create something that was compact, portable, lightweight and worked really well to protect them.' 'We suspected that something as large as a .44 Magnum would actually tip it over, but that didn't happen. The barrier is very stable, even with large bullets hitting it.'

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