MorPhys Could Create Variable Shape Buildings Of The Future
MorPhys is an experimental 3D shape creation system, which uses actuators to expand and contract the length of the sides of a tetrahedron. An advantage of this system compared to the telescopic cylinders used in tripods, is that the maximum length of the sides of the fully extended object are not dependent on their original contracted length. This technique could be used to create buildings with variable volume.
"An important aspect of this research is the actuators. They can extend the rods from 15 cm up to 4 m. In the method that I devised, each actuator uses three roll-up tape measures. The tape on the three tape measures have their backs facing each other, and they're stuck together using velcro. When the tapes extend, the velcro sticks to them, and when they retract, the velcro peels off, so they can be housed in a compact space."
The Naemura group at the University of Tokyo decided to use the tetrahedron as the base shape, as it is the simplest shape that can be represented by assembling triangles, and it can also be handled like a polygon in computer graphics. In the future, they aim to make variable-sized polygons in the real world.
"On a computer, when a 3D shape is rendered, it can be reproduced as an assemblage of triangles, no matter how complicated it is. If you try that in the real world, you get 3D shapes formed from triangles like this. This is the simplest form. The idea is that if we use these as the basic units and connect them together on a large scale, we can also produce more complicated shapes, just like on a computer."
Among the four vertices, the three in contact with the ground have wheels and retractable legs, this means that they can move in a desired direction, based on which actuators are used.
"In the future, we'd like to apply this system to architecture. But there are still a lot of issues. The current version, though, can be used for applications like stage sets that require motion and shape creation. So we think it would be good if this system could be used in theatrical settings."