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Learn from Biomimicry Design Cases

Putting a Satellite
into a
Cereal Box

Cereal-box-size room for a satellite

In a rocket, only a tiny cereal-box-size space is reserved for a satellite. Why is there so little space on such a giant rocket? Most of the space in a rocket are occupied by fuel. Because the Earth's gravity is so powerful, taking off from the Earth with a satellite onboard requires a lot of energy.

Space Satellite

Check how do we launch the things into space

Wide solar panels are more useful
Have you ever seen a satellite in a movie? Wide and glittering solar panels are very distinguishable. This glittering solar panel generates the necessary power for the satellite.

Therefore, to provide enough energy, it is better if the solar panels are large. But larger panels take up too much space on rockets, making transportation extremely expensive.

Here is the design dilemma: a smaller satellite is less expensive; however, the bigger solar panels are more useful. This dilemma is tough to resolve.

Can we make the solar panels small and then make them large again?
Then we could potentially launch large solar panel satellites into space.

Let's read the articles below and investigate the design problem.

"

“Solar panels in space could be a huge deal. The energy they collect could be beamed down to Earth or used to power spacecraft. But like so many other space travel and space exploration issues, the problem has to do with size. For a solar panel array to be worth the trouble it takes to get it into space, it would have to be pretty big. And to get something pretty big into space, you have to use a whole lot of resources – and most space shuttles really don’t have the room to carry a huge apparatus.”

from https://gajitz.com/origami-solar-array-blooms-in-space-to-collect-sun-power/

"

"

“He sad reality of space exploration is that it is very expensive to launch something into space. Prices go even further up when the satellites in question are bulky, as it is increasingly often the case. With the new solar arrays, spacecraft will be deployed farther from Earth, and still be able to produce electricity.”

from https://news.softpedia.com/news/Origami-Style-Solar-Arrays-to-Power-Up-Future-Satellites-and-Space-Stations-409705.shtml

"

"

“Ah, simplicity… sometimes so complex to achieve.

Designing technology for launch into space is an exacting and ever evolving enterprise. And these engineers and designers face the same problem we have when trying to squeeze that extra pair of shoes into our carry-on, a large piece of technology must fit on board, and then be unpacked successfully when needed in space.”

from https://whipplerussell.com/blog/modern-design-using-origami-in-space

"

Which strategy do you want to choose for putting a satellite into a cereal box?

Here are strategies that you can choose to solve this problem. Think what strategy enables you to easily place a satellite into a cereal box.
If you have chosen one, then why? Carefully explore the strategies and ideas listed below. You can check the scientific background of each idea if you click on them.

Explore functional strategies and choose an idea that you want utilize! 

Ready

to

proceed?

To continue, please share your ideas with your team.

Share your ideas with your team!~

A solution from nature

utilizing  Lever

Winged insects
expand their wings
using levers 

Meet the winged insects

You can find the winged insects from all around the world!

Most insects belonging to the Pterygota category have wings.
They have unique forms and mechanisms to utilize their wings.
Many of them can fold or expand their wings using hinge(lever) mechanisms. But, interestingly, the folding-patterns of the wings are usually different according to species.

Lets' look for winged insects in our own environments and observe how they utilize their wings. How do they fold and expand their wings?

Let's look for
          winged insects
    in our own environments!

from GBIF.org (2020), GBIF Home Page. Available from: https://www.gbif.org [13 January 2020].

What can we learn from the winged insects?

There are many things we can learn from the genius winged insects.

We may learn their flying patterns to design a small drone. In particular, their high maneuverability avoiding a predator's attack teaches us aerodynamics more practically. And the properties of their wings' surface has also guided scientists to develop new coating materials which are dust-repellant.

But here, if we remind ourselves of our problem (putting a satellite into a cereal box), then the wings' expansion ratio can be considered to be very significant. The expansion ratio stands for the ability and amount by which they can fold their wings, thus making them smaller. So the high expansion ratio means that the insect can fold its wings into a very small size! We might get insights into folding mechanisms from it that makes it possible to put a satellite into a small cereal box! Then, who can fold their wings the smallest? Who has the highest expansion ratio?

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Grand Prize
for Winged Insects

Who can fold
   their wings
       the SMALLEST?

 Check the Answer
of Evolution!

Click and learn about this animal

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Lady
Beetle

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European
Earwig

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Baldfaced
Hornet

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Stag
Beetle

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Cicada

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Dragon-fly

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Jewel
Beetle

The earwig

This winged insect has the highest expansion rate in the animal kingdom

Earwigs have an incredible wing-folding mechanism. When they unfold their wings, the wings are expanded more than 10 times larger.
This expansion rate is known as the highest among the all living organisms. Thanks to the mechanism, the earwigs can securely keep their wings in very tight spaces when not using them.

Say hello to Earwig!

Meet his relatives

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Researchers have studied the secrets of the wing-folding mechanism. They discovered a unique and complex folding pattern from it. This pattern makes the wing expands 10-15 times larger than when folded.

Learn the folding mechanism of the earwig wing.

Left Image:

from The earwig wing folds without any energy expended. Credit: ETH Zürich and Purdue University image

Exploration

Earwig Wing Paper-craft

Kazuya Saito at Kyushu University Faculty of Design and their colleagues released paper-craft-fold patterns of the earwig wing, so you can make it yourself!

Try making your own paper earwig by following the video instructions.

Making a Fan Inspired by an Earwig Wing

Click and see how to make it

Introduction

Difficulty: Easy
Time taken: 10-20min
Components:

  • printed paper

  • cutter (utility knife)

  • ruler

  • ball point pen

  • cutting mat (optional)

Step 1: Download the fold-pattern PDF file and print it on A4 paper

You can download the fold-pattern PDF file from the creator's website below.

Download link:
https://archive.iii.kyushu-u.ac.jp/public/KelYAAdJowFA-u0B4G1z0EI2dL9S5lQeFw8FwRkmLxlm

Step 2: Trace all fold lines with a ball-point-pen

Before folding, trace all fold-lines strongly with a ball-point-pen. It helps you to fold the paper later.

Step 3: Cut around the outline with a cutter (utility knife) and fold it!

Mountain fold

Valley fold

You should fold the thick lines downwards (Mountain fold) and the thin lines upwards (Valley fold).

Instructional Video

Screenshot 2022-11-24 at 11.23.54 AM.png

This instructional video and the fold-patterns were created by Kazuya Saito of the Kyushu University Faculty of Design.

Please click the image to play the instructional video.

Advanced Activity!  Making Earwig Paper Craft

Introduction

ad09e1b8-6d4c-496a-9aaa-72c0573ec680_edited_edited.png

Difficulty: Hard
Time taken: 2 hours
Components:

  • printed paper

  • cutter (utility knife)

  • ruler

  • ball point pen

  • glue stick

  • cutting mat (optional)

Step 1: Download the fold-pattern PDF files and print them on A4 papers

95dce713-affc-402f-9388-458e8c1c2e0c.png

You can download the fold-pattern PDF files from the creator's website below. When you print them out, please use thick papers for the body parts, and thin paper for the wing parts!

Download link:

https://archive.iii.kyushu-u.ac.jp/public/KelYAAdJowFA-u0B4G1z0EI2dL9S5lQeFw8FwRkmLxlm

Step 2: Trace all fold lines with a ball point pen

Before folding, trace all fold-lines strongly with a ball-point-pen. It helps you to fold the paper later.

Step 3: Cut around the outline with a cutter (utility knife) and fold it!

Mountain fold

Valley fold

You should fold the thick lines downwards (Mountain fold) and the thin lines upwards (Valley fold).

Instructional Video

Screenshot 2022-11-24 at 11.23.54 AM.png

This instructional video and the fold-patterns were created by Kazuya Saito of the Kyushu University Faculty of Design.

Please click the image to play the instructional video.

Let's Make It Real

Put a satellite into a cereal box

We raised this design problem before we started the journey to the secret of the folding-pattern of an earwig's wings.
Finally, it's the time to design and invent a model satellite!
Did you get inspiration from the earwig?

Before we start to do design and invention, let's quickly answer the following questions!



Question 1: How wide were the wings when they were folded and unfolded?

Question 2: How can we apply the folding of earwigs’ wings to artificial satellites?
                        What are the advantages?

Question 3: To what fields and products can we apply the earwig's wing-folding method?


Expand your imagination like an earwig's wings!!~

Reference and Further Readings

  • Faber, J. A., Arrieta, A. F., & Studart, A. R. (2018). Bioinspired spring origami. Science, 359(6382), 1386-1391.

  • Saito, K., Pérez-De La Fuente, R., Arimoto, K., Seong, Y. A., Aonuma, H., Niiyama, R., & You, Z. (2020). Earwig fan designing: Biomimetic and evolutionary biology applications. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(30), 17622-17626.

  • ETH Zürich and Purdue University image

  • https://archive.iii.kyushu-u.ac.jp/public/KelYAAdJowFA-u0B4G1z0EI2dL9S5lQeFw8FwRkmLxlm (Last Access Nov. 30, 2022)

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