Talk about mixed martial arts and crafts: Brigham Young University engineers have created an origami-inspired bulletproof shield that is capable of protecting individuals from gunfire.

“You don’t think of engineers as super heroes, right? Someone who is saving lives, but that’s what we’re doing,” said Terri Bateman a professor of mechanical engineering at BYU.

“What we really like about this shape is that is has this curvature so that it goes all the way around the person, not just the front, and that’s something that traditional barriers have, or shields–they’re just kind of flat,” Bateman 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,” 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.”

“Working on this project, it’s really opened my eyes to see that, you know, I can be involved in projects that can make a big impact in people’s lives,” said Kyler Tolman, who is working to earn a master’s degree in engineering at BYU.

“To see it shot even with a 44 magnum, which is a very powerful handgun, and to see it withstand that, it’s just: Yes! It worked!” Howell said.