This Human-Sized Origami Redesigns Emergency Shelters



“Many times,” he continues, “these things are built up, but then they are left or destroyed.”

“It’s a very good bridge between Origami mechanics-its geometry-and right now going to a large structure. That is rare, ”he said Ann Sychterz, an assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign who was not involved in the study. Sychterz specializes in practical residential designs. “In order for this to really work into real life, these are the requirements that are different in steps,” he said.

Bertoldi points out that we already have a well-known available habitat: campgrounds. The lightweight, tight-fitting tents make it easy to backpack through the wilderness. But assembling one in the empty space takes time. You need to link the metal bars, thread them through the narrow holes in the fabric, and lock everything in place. Setting up bar-based structures more still takes a lot of time and hands. An ideal emergency protection can be easily set up when it is needed, and can quickly arrive when it is needed elsewhere.

By themselves, Origami deployables suffer from a similar problem. Going from 2D to 3D requires care at every turn. “The hard part of Origami back then was that you usually had to activate each hinge, so moving it became difficult,” Bertoldi said.

The group used plastic blankets or cardboard for the faces of the shelter, but the original magic happened on the hinges. Faces don’t turn, so something has to be given. The hinges are either two -sided tape connecting the laser -cut cardboard, or lines mechanically drawn on plastic blankets. The structure is allowed to flex itself for inflation and deflation. And in order for all the hinges to be automatic, his team decided, maybe they could just immediately inflate the folds using air pressure.

But blowing air into an inflatable object is more like compressing a fountain then assembling it into a building. It is not bistable. “You compressed it and damaged it,” Bertoldi said. “But when you unload your load, it comes back.” That is, you can use the energy from the air pressure to transform a fold of cardboard and make it into an inflatable tent, but you stop making sure the air stays-which, of course, rejects having door.

Strength is part of reducing excess energy: a ball parked in a valley is much stronger than halfway up a steep hill. Placing agreement means designing a structure so that its energy barrier, or the amount of energy required to lock it into the growing or growing states, is just right. The barrier cannot be too high, or otherwise impossible to rise. However the barrier also cannot be shortened, because a strong wind can break it: “It will come back and avoid,” Bertoldi said.

“You have to carefully design its energy barrier,” he continues. “And that’s most of the engineering game.”

Bertoldi’s group designed their structures using triangular surfaces; the energy barrier for each structure depends on how they shape the triangles, the geometry of how they connect, and their construction materials. First they make calculations, then body-sized prototype shapes like arches and starbursts, tinkering with different building materials and searching for the energy barrier to the energy beautiful area. “It took us three years to really get to the bottom of it to figure out the geometric analysis and the experimental part – how to do it,” Bertoldi said. Every decision from the angles of forcing the facing of the material to the construction of the hinge adds a change that requires trial and error “There are many failures. Many and many.”

Pride of a medium-sized prototype of the emergency Origami shade (accelerated).

Courtesy of David Melancon

Later, someone clicked. Literally. If you focus on folded structures to expand them, Bertoldi recalls, “at a certain point, you feel Klik. ”He likens that feeling to what you get from snap bracelets in the 1990s:” It’s something you can feel in your hands. “


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