BYU mechanical engineers have created an origami-inspired, lightweight bulletproof shield that can protect law enforcement from gunfire. The new ballistic 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.

“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,” said Larry Howell, professor of mechanical engineering at BYU. “We wanted to create something that was compact, portable, lightweight and worked really well to protect them.”

In working with law enforcement, BYU researchers learned much of what is currently used hasn’t 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 Howell and his colleagues designed is made of 12 layers of bulletproof Kevlar and weighs only 55 pounds (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 9 mm, .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum pistols.

“Those are significant handguns with power,” Howell said. “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.”

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.

“It goes from a very compact state that you can carry around in the trunk of a car to something you can take with you, open up and take cover behind to be safe from bullets,” said Terri Bateman, BYU adjunct professor of engineering and research team member. “Then you 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. Although the ballistic barrier is now just in prototype form and not currently in use by any law enforcement agencies, Howell and Bateman have tested it with officers on site. The response has been positive so far.

“There are a lot of risks to law personnel and we feel like this particular product can really make a difference and save a lot of lives,” Bateman said. “It makes us feel like we’re really making a difference in the world.”



  1. Si peccato che devi esporti per sparare…così sei un bersaglio anche per una frazione di secondo…

  2. What if they shot an ar15 or a bigger gun like a deagle

  3. So they just gonna stay behind that forever in a gunfight

  4. 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏🙇‍♂️🙇‍♂️🙇‍♂️🙇‍♂️🙇‍♂️🙇‍♂️

  5. Go to wakanda and get Vibrainium

  6. "Origami kevlar", nice…!, now the yakuza's have a new toy

  7. looks bad to draw it out quickly, like the thing would just fall

  8. This is really entertaining and helpful at the same time!

  9. What will win as a cover:
    -a highly engineered origami kevlar wall
    -the car that carries it

    At least put a handle so you can reposition & carry it like a shield

  10. So many pathetic comments. These people develop a prototype to help the police and all the COD keyboard warriors whine. Its another tool the police can choose from depending on the situation.

  11. you notice there the shield is fixed at onto a stand. I think although the design barrier is well designed, it still have bit more to go. Without the fixed stand, a barrage of bullets would simply batter away the barrier.

  12. How about using an actual 44 Magnum, not this short muzzle embarrassment.

  13. The Origami Killer approves this message.

  14. Just handguns are not going to cut it

  15. It should withstand at least a 5.56

  16. Will people in a hostage situation use a handgun or an AK

  17. Bullets travel near to a kilometre a second
    It will get from the barrel to the officer in a fraction of the time it would take for them to deploy this.
    Need a spring deploy system but that still will be way to slow

    In short if the gunman wants someone dead, they will be dead

  18. Remember that one mission on call of duty

  19. Is this really practical? It seems that US cops need such kind of protection against rifle calibers and not from handguns.

  20. Folds up small enough to put in the closet next to the kids crib

  21. What a truly brilliant idea I hope this works for real when facing heavy odds.

  22. It's all fun and games until this dumb thing falls over.

  23. Find out what happens when you hit it with a rifle.

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