Bicycles, dinner tables & umbrellas could soon become pocket-sized

Scientists have created a super-compressible material that could eventually have your pocket sized bike unfold into a full-scale one.

55 seconds read time

Have you ever wondered if it would be possible for you to pick up your bicycle, fold it into itself and then place it in your pocket? Well, this new super-compressible material could do just that.

Researchers at TU Delft have used artificial intelligence to create a new supercompressible but strong material. According to Miguel Bessa, assistant professor in materials science and engineering at TU Delft, the idea originiated when he was at the California Institute of Technology in the corner of the Space Structures Lab. Bessa noticed that a satellite structure could open long solar sails from an extremely small form-factor.

This observation drove Bessa's inspiration to create a supercompressible material that could be compressed into a fraction of its volume, but still remain strong. "If this was possible, everyday objects such as bicycles, dinner tables and umbrellas could be folded into your pocket." Bessa and his team used artificial intelligence instead of the traditional trial-and-error process to explore new design possibilities with metamaterials. This reduced experimentation to the absolute minimum, and after some time Bessa fabricated two designs that converted once brittle polymers into lightweight, recoverable and super-compressible metamaterials.

From the above video we can see the maro-scale design is tuned for maximum compressibility and the micro-scale design is for high strength and stiffness.

Bicycles, dinner tables & umbrellas could soon become pocket-sized |
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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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