Monthly Archives: November 2016

Whats The News of Origami inspired

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.

“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,” says Terri Bateman, BYU adjunct professor of engineering. “Then you can easily fold it up and move it if you need to advance your position.”

During testing, the researchers found the shield to be even more successful than they had initially predicted, stopping bullets from 9mm, .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum handguns.

“Those are significant handguns with power,” says Howell. “We suspected that something as large as a .44 Magnum would actually tip it over, but that didn’t happen.”

Currently still in prototype form, the team is continuing to work with law enforcement agencies and has tested it with officers on site who have been impressed. The team also believes the barrier could have broader uses, such as for safety in schools or protecting the wounded in emergencies.

Notch yet another innovative design solution up to the ancient art of origami.

The boot to wheel boots

We’ve all seen them … illegally-parked cars that have had wheel boots placed on them, which won’t be removed until the fine is paid. Those boots are heavy and cumbersome to carry, however, plus the people who put them on typically have to kneel dangerously close to passing traffic. That’s why New York-based Ideas That Stick developed the windshield-blocking Barnacle.

Folding in half when not in use, the Barnacle adheres to the windshield using two pump-activated commercial grade suction cups that can reportedly withstand hundreds of pounds of pulling force. Parking officials can carry several of the devices in the back of their vehicle, and need only lean across offending cars from the curb in order to install them.

Should the drivers of those cars try removing the Barnacle on their own or driving away with it still on, a built-in alarm will sound (that said, one has to wonder how many people might just drive it away with it on anyway).

Instead, once they’ve paid their fine over the phone, drivers will be given a numerical release code for the Barnacle on their car. After punching that code into the integrated keypad, the suction cups will release and the device will come off. They then have 24 hours in which to return it to a drop-off location – if they don’t, presumably they’ll be fined once again.

Additionally, in instances where parking fines remain unpaid, cars can be towed with the Barnacle still in place. With wheel boots, the device has to be removed before the car can be towed.