menu

Flat-Pack Structures Self-Assemble With A Jolt Of Electricity [Video]

Flat-Pack Structures Self-Assemble With A Jolt Of Electricity [Video]
technology

Scientists have developed flat pack structures that can autonomously assemble into 3D shapes when linked to an electrical current.

Daniela Walker
  • 9 july 2013

Anyone who has wrestled with an IKEA wardrobe knows that flat-packed structures are not the easiest to assemble. Nowadays you can 3D print a whole product, but if you need it to travel compactly, it needs to be able to be flat-packed. Researchers at MIT, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a series of flat objects that can build themselves when they are stimulated with an electrical current.

The structures are made out of shape memory polymers (that have been printed) and have joints that are covered with a conductive coating. When a jolt of electricity runs through, the shape memory polymers begins to go back into its original shape. Printing the shapes and the self-folding means that less labor is involved in creating complicated geometric structures.

The scientists explain in an academic article published in Soft Matter:

Origami-inspired manufacturing can produce complex structures and machines by folding two-dimensional composites into three-dimensional structures.This fabrication technique is potentially less expensive, faster, and easier to transport than more traditional machining methods, including 3-D printing. Its functionality and low cost make it an ideal basis for a new type of printable manufacturing based on two-dimensional fabrication techniques.

Watch the video below to see 2D objects make themselves 3D:

Soft Matter

technology
Trending

Tokyo Concept Store Disguised As A Parking Garage

Advertising
Brand Development Today

The 10 Steps To Discover, Hire, Develop Your Next Leader

PSFK's Future of Work report outlines key steps in the employee development path to empower next-gen leaders

Home Today

Beacon Device Takes The Pain Out Of Navigating A New Airbnb

Ping provides new guests with a guided tour of the house or apartment through a simple tap of their phone

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Arts & Culture Today

Shelf Makes Its Contents Appear To Hover In Midair

The design uses metal tubes to create an optical illusion when viewed from the front

Fashion Today

Declutter And Recycle All Of Your Unwanted Stuff

A new app will help catalogue your possessions and give them away as donations when you no longer want them

PURPLELIST EXPERTS

Matt Hardisty

Digital Strategy & Production - Realizing Brand Vision

Fitness / Sport Today

This Health App Will Pay You For Every Step You Take

Sweatcoin records your fitness activities and donates to charity based on exercise

Technology Today

How Motion Tracking Is Finding Its Way Into Design Craftsmanship

Expanding on traditional modeling, a Toronto-based designer is experimenting with how physical gestures can generate functional 3D topographies

Work Yesterday

Amazon Is Experimenting With A 30-Hour Work Week

The online retailer is launching a pilot program that will allow a technical team to work with a considerably shortened schedule

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 25, 2016

Retail Expert: What Sustainability Means To The Millennial Generation

Jo Godden, Founder of RubyMoon, discusses how brands can limit their environmental impact worldwide

PSFK Labs Today

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: Leave The Busywork To The Bots

Our Future of Work vision is an artificially intelligent helper that frees workers from the administrative to-dos that have dogged them for too long

Fitness / Sport Yesterday

How The Rio Olympics Stood For More Than Just Games

PSFK rounds out the Rio Games with our picks for the finest moments beyond sports

Retail Yesterday

Mobile Travel App Embraces Cognitive Computing

The Orlando Tourism Board is looking to IBM Watson to provide personalized local recommendations for visitors

Design Yesterday

Kate Spade’s New Fitness Trackers Push Wearable Tech Into High Fashion

The retailer joins other designers in bringing tech-assisted lifestyles to the luxury clothing market

Automotive Yesterday

Bike-Friendly Apartment Building For Swedish Cyclists

A residential space is being designed for commuters to easily transport goods

Advertising Yesterday

Nike Takes Over An Entire City Block With A Giant Running Track

The Unlimited Stadium is shaped like a 100-meter sole print of the brand's LunarEpic sneaker

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Gaming Yesterday

Fortune Cookie Service Brings Bad News To Your Doorstep

To promote their new delivery service Blackbox, the creators of Cards Against Humanity are delivering unfortunate messages in an edible form

Arts & Culture Yesterday

This Picture Frame Could Be The Lava Lamp For A New Generation

Slow Dance makes real objects appear to move in slow motion

Work Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: How Will Companies Staff The Workplace Of The Future?

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX examine the ways that a people-first workplace might disrupt the job hiring process

No search results found.