Pneumatic Origami

Odds are that if you’ve been to the beach or gone camping or somewhere in between, you are familiar with inflatable products like air mattresses. It’s nothing spectacular to see a rectangle inflate into a thicker, more comfortable¬†rectangle, but what if your air mattress inflated into the shape of a crane?

We’ve seen similar ideas in quadcopters and robots using more mechanical means, but this is method uses air instead. To make this possible, the [Tangible Media Group] out of [MIT’s Media Lab] have developed aeroMorph — a program that allows the user to design inflatable constructs from paper, plastic or fabric with careful placement of a few folding joints.

These designs are exported and imprinted onto the medium by a cartesian coordinate robot using a heat-sealing attachment. Different channels allow the medium to fold in multiple directions depending on where the air is flowing, so this is a bit more complicated than, say, a bouncy castle. That, and it’s not often you see paper folding itself. Check it out!

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Furniture bots, transform

This mechanized table automatically expands from seating for six to seating for twelve. We tried to capture the action with the three images above but don’t miss the transforming goodness in the video after the break. Alas, we’ll never see something like this in real life because it resides on a yacht worthy of Robin Leach’s attention. We wouldn’t have a problem copying the geometry of the tabletop pieces, but there’s got to be some serious design work to pull off the structure controlling the movement. No solid price is listed, but the creators note that construction costs are in the tens-of-thousands of British Pounds. We’ll stick to our Ikea furniture hacks for now.

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