IBM files Matrix style bullet dodging patent

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

I absolutely loved the scenes in the Matrix where Neo dodges bullets. Last week IBM was issued a patent that in theory would give us mortals that ability.

The patent proposes a system where an external device monitors the area for incoming projectiles. If it detects a projectile headed near a person hooked into the system it can either shock their muscles in order to move their body a particular way to dodge the bullet, Neo style, or it could simply make the intended target collapse.

Figure from the patent.

From the patent:

The present invention relates generally to the protection of an individual against a projectile propelled from a firearm. More particularly, the present invention relates to a body armor system and its method of use that is capable of detecting a projectile propelled from a firearm, computing the trajectory of the projectile, and moving the individual out of the path of the projectile to avoid being hit.

Historically, certain individuals have been exposed to the threat of assassination because of their status in society. Examples of these individuals include, but are not limited to, high ranking politicians, clerics, successful industrial entrepreneurs, and military personnel. These individuals tend to be most vulnerable during those times when they are publicly addressing large crowds, making them easy targets for snipers.

In the past, the only effective protection against “sniper fire” has been to wear bullet proof body armor…. Furthermore using armor-piercing ammunition renders body-armors even less effective and desirable.

Obama surrounded by ballistic glass at the Inauguration.

At an event the size and important as a presidential Inauguration where the high ranking target can be protected this system is not really useful, but I can see how it could in situations where this kind of protection is just not possible.

Read the full patent here. UPDATE: IBM withdrew the patent. You can read a copy I made of it here.

A big thanks to Daniel Watters for the info.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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  • Daniel E. Watters Daniel E. Watters on Feb 18, 2009

    The concept may be far-fetched, but the patent was real. Even though the text has been removed, you can still access the images at the USPTO link.

    BTW: I find it really classy how some sites refuse to give you credit for breaking the story. (I won't give them the boost of noting their names or URL.) A simple Google search will show that most sites which posted before them reference back to you, including Free Republic, HotAir, and Gizmodo. It was also linked on Stumble It,, and Digg. Admittedly, it is possible that the other sites found it through an independent USPTO search like I did. However, their timing is awfully suspicious seeing as they posted after the story went viral. Perhaps they were just too embarrassed to link to a gun blog. (On the plus side, at least they didn't hotlink the photos from your server.)

    P.S.: Have you forgotten about the flechette rifle?

  • Joanna Joanna on Mar 11, 2009

    That's how bush dodged the flying shoes. I knew it