This Human-Sized Origami Reimagines Emergency Shelters

Imagine a shelter structure that is the size of a twin mattress when flat but when inflated has wide walls and a roof snaps into place!
Curiousbrand Team
April 19, 2023

Harvard Ph. D. candidate in applied mathematics David Melancon carried out the experiment of deploying an emergency shelter easily Over the last three years, his team has deconstructed the basic geometry, physics, and structural engineering obstacles of origami in order to build on this concept. Last week they presented a set of bistable inflatable origami that are folded from either cardboard or corrugated plastic sheets, the pieces snap into place with pressure from an air pump, and hold their own without it. Some of the examples are trinket-sized while others are as big as human-sized arches. The highlight is a 8-foot-tall shelter with an 8-foot-wide octagonal floor and a door, unfolded from one single material.

Experts say this is a promising solution for emergency shelters in cases of natural disasters. The project is still being fine-tuned to master the the mechanical and geometric aspects of origiami.

In the meantime, take a look at their work so far @WIRED