Student creates a material that opens in the sun and closes in the rain. via fastcocodesign
When Chao Chen had to conduct a materials study during his second term at the Royal College of Art, he found inspiration while walking through London’s Hyde Park on a rainy day. Picking up a pine cone, he noticed that it reacted to water by closing its outer shell. Now, he has developed a building material, based on the pine cone’s anatomy, that can shapeshift in response to weather.
Chen knew that pine cones open and close as a survival mechanism to protect and release their seeds, but what interested him was how. So that day, in Hyde Park, he grabbed a few pine cones, took them home, and sliced them in half. “Each pine cone has two layers,” Chen says in a phone interview. “When it gets wet, the outer layer elongates more than the inner layer and closes in on itself. As a designer, this was very important for me.”
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.