So It Ain’t The Bridge On the River Kwai

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Bridging Troubled Waters: The Utah team, their trophy, and BAMBI.

The engineering students at Utah State University have come up with a backpack-portable bridge that recently captured first place in the Air Force Research Laboratory Design Challenge.

It’s designed to let military personnel cross streams, minefields or other danger zones. The carbon-fiber bridge breaks down into six pieces and stretches to 20 feet.

Like most nifty military gear, it meets three key criteria:

— It’s light – only 27 pounds — but can carry up to 350 pounds.

— It has a neat acronym: BAMBI, for Break-Apart Mobile Bridging and Infiltration (must have got an English major involved there).

— “We found that the more simple the design was, the better it became,” student Tasha Davis says.

See it in action here: