design + research + robots

Pop, Lift, and Drop It!


Pop, Lift, and drop it!

Over the past half-century, researchers have developed many innovative origami-inspired shelters for military housing, disaster relief and offering the homeless a place to sleep. Deployable and transformable structures can also be used for concerts, exhibits, installations or other temporary events. In this project, I explored a variety of strategies for designing deployable structures and chose to focus on the Rotational Erection System (RES) by Yoshinobu Miyamoto. Miyamoto has developed many designs that expand vertically, from a single point of actuation. Looking in a different direction, I worked within this system to make horizontally expansive fractal-like structures. I developed a pattern using the square base unit, where the central structure was mirrored over each arm and scaled down to half the size. The arms of the large unit merged with the smaller units towards the base so that the motion could be transferred down. In a two tier system, I could actuate solely the central unit, and all others would pop up. Continuing with this design approach, I designed a final kirigami pattern with three tiers of structures.

Project completed for Geometric Folding Algorithms at MIT with Erik Demaine


pop it!

Next, I began experimenting with different forms of actuation, starting with shrink film. After running into some issues with the strength of the shrink film and the weight of the material, I began testing a variety of anchor locations using string and lighter compositions. I tested nine different configurations and found the middle location on the leg and the furthest location on the base to be the most successful. I used this configuration in further testing in Pop It!


Lift it!

To overcome some of the difficulty in Pop It!, I explored less conventional and more playful methods of actuation, using helium balloons to lift the structure up.


Drop it!

The final form of actuation utilizes parachutes for deployment. The vision here is that you could drop the folded structure from a plane to a remote area or disaster zone. Once the parachute deploys, the structure pops-up into form. With fans attached for guiding, the structure could direct itself to its exact destination, already assembled.