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Inflatable Origami Shelters

Harvard PhD Candidate David Melancon Created a Folding Emergency Tent

— May 10, 2021 — Tech
Harvard Ph.D. candidate David Melancon proves that the ancient practice of paper folding can be useful in emergency situations with his inflatable origami shelter. Made with white plastic, the tent fits a huge number of large objects, including 14 chairs, a bike, and a yellow bike pump.

To inflate the structure from its flat twin-mattress size, the origami needs to be bistable. This means it must remain sturdy when it's flat and when it's expanded. The structure spans 2.5 meters across and upwards and easily inflates into place. As the shelter is still currently a prototype, the next challenge is to make it mass-producible and resilient to natural elements to be used in case of an emergency.

Image Credit: Designboom / Wired
Trend Themes
1. Inflatable Origami Shelters - The trend of using origami to create emergency shelters can be explored to create new products that are easy to transport and set up in emergency situations.
2. Bistable Inflatables - The trend of creating lightweight and portable bistable inflatable structures can be leveraged to create emergency structures or even temporary event venues.
3. Resilient Emergency Structures - The trend of developing structures that are resilient to natural elements could be used to create emergency structures that can withstand harsh weather conditions with increased durability and longevity.
Industry Implications
1. Emergency Response - Emergency response organizations can utilize inflatable origami structures to provide quickly deployable shelters in disaster affected areas.
2. Event Planning - Event planners can explore inflatable bistable structures as a potential alternative to traditional tent structures, providing greater portability and ease of set-up and breakdown.
3. Architectural Design - Architects could potentially use the concept of bistable inflatables and origami folding in their designs to create unique structures that are lightweight, portable, and easily deployable.
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