IBM (IBM) has pulled a patent application for new "bionic armor" that would let its wearers dodge bullets. Seriously.

No word yet on why IBM suddenly pulled its patent. But techfragments has an excerpt of the old filing, and it's like "the Matrix" come to life.

From our reading, it seems the idea for the bionic armor is to detect bullets mid-air, compute their trajectory, and then contort to dodge the impact before the bullet arrives.

The US military presumably wants to keep this one to themselves. Assuming it actually works (and doesn't snap its user's spine in the process), we bet the military will pay IBM a fortune for it.

The patent was described as a "method of protecting a target from a projectile propelled from a firearm comprises detecting an approaching projectile, continuously monitoring the projectile and transmitting an actual position of the projectile to a controller, computing an estimated projectile trajectory based upon the actual position of the projectile, determining an actual position of a target with a plurality of position sensors and a plurality of attitude sensors, determining whether the estimated projectile trajectory coincides with the actual position of the target, and triggering a plurality of muscle stimulators operably coupled to the controller and to the target when the estimated projectile trajectory coincides with the actual position of the target, wherein the muscle stimulators stimulate the target to move in a predefined manner, and wherein the target moves by an amount sufficient to avoid any contact with the approaching projectile.

The projectile may be detected in the detecting step by emitting an electromagnetic wave from a projectile detector and receiving the electromagnetic wave after the electromagnetic wave has been reflected back toward the projectile detector by the projectile."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.