NASA Invents a Folding Solar Panel Inspired by Origami #ArtTuesday #NASA #origami

NASA Invents a Folding Solar Panel Inspired by Origami. From WIRED:

…Trease is a mechanical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he works on solving one of NASA’s biggest challenges: How to transport and deploy bulky objects as compactly and lightly as possible. A couple years ago, NASA began exploring ways to launch and deploy increasingly large solar panels without taking up more room and cargo weight. It turned out that Trease’s childhood hobby was a promising way to accomplish that.

Working with students and faculty at Brigham Young University, as well as origami master Robert Lang, the engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have come up with a preliminary prototype for a 1 cm-thick solar array that would be able to expand from 8.9 feet in diameter to 82 feet. The foldable material uses a technique Trease and his fellow researchers call “hannaflex,” which looks like a flower when compacted and blossoms out to a flat, circular form. “This is just begging to be deployed with centrifugal force,” says Trease. “We could have it on spacecraft where we just spin it and that force allows the panels to deploy out to their position.”

Trease is obviously skipping a few steps for the sake of illustrating the concept’s potential. NASA is still years away from building a full-sized working prototype (the current prototype expands to a diameter of 4.1 feet). And there are still plenty of issues to work out, including how to actuate movement in the material. They’re toying with motors that would pull the material and shape memory alloys, which can shift shape when an electrical current runs through it. To illustrate: In the video you watch as six sets of hands unfolds the compacted material to its flat shape,  but Trease is quick to say that’s not exactly a viable scenario for space. “We know that they unfold nicely,” he says. “But we can’t have a team of astronauts out there doing the unfolding for us.” …

Read More.

Pasted Image 9 23 14 12 02 AM

Pasted Image 9 23 14 12 01 AM

Screenshot 4 2 14 11 48 AMEvery Tuesday is Art Tuesday here at Adafruit! Today we celebrate artists and makers from around the world who are designing innovative and creative works using technology, science, electronics and more. You can start your own career as an artist today with Adafruit’s conductive paints, art-related electronics kits, LEDs, wearables, 3D printers and more! Make your most imaginative designs come to life with our helpful tutorials from the Adafruit Learning System. And don’t forget to check in every Art Tuesday for more artistic inspiration here on the Adafruit Blog!

Make a robot friend with Adafruit’s CRICKIT – A Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express, FEATHER and other platforms to make and program robots with CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. Start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your boards so you can still use all the goodies on the microcontroller, now you have a robotics playground as well.

Join 7,500+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython in 2018 – Python on Microcontrollers is here!

Have an amazing project to share? Join the SHOW-AND-TELL every Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET on Google+ Hangouts.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/

Maker Business — Fewer startups, and other collateral damage from the 2018 tariffs

Wearables — Light as a Worbla feather

Electronics — How to make your own magnetic field probe!

Biohacking — The State of DNA Analysis in Three Mindmaps

Python for Microcontrollers — One year of CircuitPython weeklies!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !

1 Comment

  1. Just wanted to let you know, there’s a typo in his name, the first word of the quoted article. His name is “Trease”, not “Crease”, as ammusing as that would be. 🙂

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.