Researchers create efficient origami-inspired military shelters

Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have created, with funding from the U.S. Army, a deployable mobile shelter that is both energy efficient and relatively easy to construct in the field. These mobile shelters were designed based on origami principles, and are unfolded in a similar manner, being assembled from sections that fold flat for transporting. There are several benefits to the mobile shelters, but the most important is arguably their efficiency.

Current mobile shelters used by the military are problematic. They're often deployed in areas with extreme temperatures, and as a result must be air conditioned or heated. Fuel is required to do that, however, and transporting fuel has high costs — both monetarily and in terms of lives lost during fueling missions. Such missions are said to have resulted in "hundreds of" deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.

This new mobile shelter, which was designed by Dr. Ashley P. Thrall and her team at Notre Dame's Kinetic Structure Laboratory, helps solve that problem through its efficient design — the shelter reduces energy use by 70-percent, requiring far less fuel and less fuel missions by proxy.

In addition, the shelters are rigid (as opposed to canvas shelters), and are the first rigid shelters that can be air lifted on a standard military palette to locations.

Finally, experimentations with origami designs led to inspiration for the mobile shelter's construction — it uses a removable leverage on the exterior walls for lifting them into place, reducing the construction time to less than a single hour. You can see the deployment process in the video above.

VIA: Gizmag

SOURCE: Notre Dame