Viewing entries tagged
shape

Comment

Tiny holes for a smoother, more efficient flight

aircraft_tail1-660x990
aircraft_tail1-660x990

A chair with holes in it can be lightweight, functional, and still comfortable. But do you want to fly in an airplane with holes in it?

Remember that shape is the primary determinant of function, from a molecular level to trains and airplanes, and can be a big determinant of resource use as well. Boeing's new, more efficient 777X features tiny holes in its tail to help smooth airflow around the plane. The end result is higher fuel efficiency. (You can read a detailed explanation at Wired.)

Now add lightweight, comfortable seats, and you'll improve the system even more.

Comment

The inspiration revealed!

Comment

The inspiration revealed!

Can you guess what organism inspired the design of this innovation-- the "Flectofin"?

This image shows the hingeless flaps of an adaptive shading system for building facades, inspired by the elastic kinematics of a... bird of paradise plant. 

 Read about the design process behind the "Flectofin".

Comment

Comment

Resource Fix: Reinventing the shape of the wheel

Shape matters, whether it's the shape of an egg or a bridge, or how fibers are woven together. The shape of a wheel or tire is something we tend to take for granted. There are various strategies for altering patterns on the surface of tires to decrease friction or increase grip, but the overall shape of the wheel has remained consistent.

The inventor of Sharkwheel says the shape of a cube inspired him to develop his new wheel for skateboards. Rather than the hard angles of a cube, the wheel actually uses sine waves, or smooth, repetitive curves, in its structure. You can read about the rationale and potential perks of the wheel's shape (less contact, less rolling resistance, increased control) on Sharkwheel's tech page.

It's not clear yet what the measured effects of the wheel's shape are – does the wheel require fewer energy inputs to roll faster? – but it's interesting to think about how the invention might be applied in other ways, or how it might inspire others to rethink the wheel. Wheels are not only important in transportation, they appear in manufacturing, building parts, small equipment, and more. Shape matters, even in instances where we thought it would never change.

Comment