BYU Engineers Ballistic Shield for Law Enforcement with… ORIGAMI



Brigham Young University has taken a unique approach to solving a problem for law enforcement. Many departments seek to have protective barriers or shields available in their vehicles. Many are too heavy, too cumbersome, or flat out do not work. BYU has applied the principles of origami to make something truly original.

Their “bulletproof origami” shield is truly one-of-a-kind and based on initial testing, it works! What gives this ballistic shield its rigidity and strength without the bulk of traditional barriers is the yoshimura origami pattern used. Yoshimura origami is a symmetrical design developed from watching cylinders collapse under an axial load. In more simple terms, think of crushing a pop can in a perfectly vertical manner. Your typical curb stomp or party, forehead smash probably will not achieve the yoshimura effect, but we are not dream killers here at TFB, so by all means, “yoshimura” your next Bud Light or Pepsi can!

Most products currently weigh 90 pounds while the origami ballistic shield from BYU is approximately 50 pounds. Also, most shields/barriers only protect one officer while the BYU product can cover two or three. The bullet-proof origami shield uses 12 layers of Kevlar with an aluminum core. Through multiple calculations and testing, 12 was found to be the best number in regards to protection against handgun calibers and being lightweight.

This may not be a product that a police department can give to every officer, but it is definitely innovative. In more unique situations when an officer is responding to an imminent conflict or a part of a special task force where conflicts occur more regularly, this tool could see a lot of use.

The outdoors, fitness and anything related to firearms are my passions. I am a S&W Armorer, Glock Armorer, reloader and am coping with an addiction to classic S&W and Colt revolvers (by buying more revolvers). I’ve been a guest writer for Sierra Bullets and love long walks to the gun range.


  • Very cool. The 12 layers of Kevlar makes sense for handguns, as the shield does not have the issue of protecting from blunt force trauma that a wearable vest would have. Curious what the V50 is.

  • TVOrZ6dw

    Add a 180 degree view camera, maybe with FLIR, so you can see without exposing yourself at all. But still, beats taking rounds through the car door.

  • Bill

    I wonder how they handled the seams where it folds, a natural weak point.

    If it looks stupid and it works, it isn’t stupid.

  • Huevo McMuffin

    its virtually wallet sized. who said mormons arent the brightest folks?

  • noob

    hmm this pop up shield is missing something… I can’t quite place what…

  • Juggernaut

    It needs a little flip-up shelf for a cup of coffee and a donut

  • roguetechie

    *slow claps*

    Thank God someone is FINALLY showing something in public that showcases this approach!!!

    If they were to throw in a couple of other concepts and TIE it together in the secret method of SAINT BUCKY…

  • MzUnGu

    Kind o flimsy to move around unfolded. Hope u don’t need to set it up when the other guys are shooting. For small arm, seems if you have to crouching, u r pretty pinned down while they walk around ya. Would rather hide behind the engine.

    Also rolling and unrolling it with some leaf springs seems 2 make more sense then folding if u wanna save space and have no weak spot.

  • valorius

    It’s sure as fk a whole lot better than nothing.

  • winterhorse

    great idea! one problem though. no protection against a buckshot sweep at pavement level.

    • The_Champ

      Why wouldn’t it have a good chance of catching buckshot skipped off the pavement? And what criminals are training to skip buckshot?

      • winterhorse

        buckshot doesn’t bounce like a pool ball. it tends to just skid across the pavement.

  • The_Champ

    For all of the genius tacticians here commenting and deriding this idea, might I suggest that its likely use would be at a stand-off/barricaded person incident. Something where you have time to set up and will be there for the long haul.

    Certainly seems like a better idea than hoping one of the more solid parts of a car will catch the bullet, or improvising cover on a tree, shed, or whatever happens to be available.

    Observe how a tac team with a ballistic shield will prop it up on the corner of a house or where ever they need to set up for a little extra cover. Same idea I think.

    The product seems like a reasonably clever idea worth exploring.

    The only really fake aspect I spotted in the video was how neat and tidy the back of that patrol car was. When he yanked that big thing out there should have been about a dozen different carbon copy forms, stop sticks, a fire extinguisher, teddy bears, and a duty bag should have all come flying out as well 🙂

  • m-dasher

    why do they have to over-engineer this……..why not just have a kevlar shield that rolls out?

  • jess

    This was featured on the PBS show NOVA last week, the episode was on origami solving problems. If you want to see it and skip the other stuff (history, satellites, etc) and jump to the shield, it was presented in last 15 minutes or so.

    The episode should be available to stream for free on the PBS/NOVA website for another week or two though quite a bit of the footage is the same as the BYU video.

  • Huaba Sepp

    Am I the only one that find these short revolvers suspicious?