Magazine article National Defense

Smart Armor Shield Deploys like Air Bag to Stop Bullets

Magazine article National Defense

Smart Armor Shield Deploys like Air Bag to Stop Bullets

Article excerpt

Providing security for VIPs-ranging from government officials to movie stars-when they appear in public areas, typically means deploying protective barriers such as concrete walls or Plexiglas shields.

A new product now entering the marketplace aims to replace those obstructive protection devices. Its manufacturers claim that this technology can do what only Superman could: detect incoming bullets and stop them within fractions of a second. This protective device-a 1-foot tall, 3-foot wide rectangular box-deploys an inflated 6-foot by 5-foot bullet-proof shield when it senses that a round has been fired from a distance of at least 40 feet. Essentially, it operates like an automobile air bag.

The device is called the Instantaneous Personnel Protection System (IPPS) and is made by Ibis Technologies, a three-yearold company based in Gibsonia, Pa.

"Most people can't believe that you can set something down on the floor and shoot at it, and the thing pops up and stops the bullet," said John D. Weaver, one of the company's partners who own the patent for IPPS.

The system was tested late last year and is now ready for production, even though company officials have not yet determined how much they will charge for IPPS. "We are still putting the final production prices together," Weaver said.

Ibis is marketing the product in Europe and the Middle East. In the United States, there is potential for sales to law enforcement and military agencies involved in counter-terrorism, he noted. There will be government-unique and commercial configurations of IPPS.

The device is composed of five subsystems, explained Weaver during a recent interview:

A specially configured millimeter radar, which detects the incoming round and sends a signal to deploy the ballistic shield.

Its detection range is about 150 feet. The radar was developed by Southwest Research Institute, of San Antonio, Texas.

The shield deployment system, which includes high-speed generators of inflation gas to launch and sustain IPPS, and inflatable tubes that support the shield. These components are made by Pacific Scientific, of Chandler, Ariz.

The flexible armor that makes up the ballistic shield. It is supplied by Second Chance Body Armor, located in Central Lake, Mich. The ballistic fabric is called Ziloflex, which is a generation more advanced than Kevlar, said Weaver. …

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