Bacilla Spore Actuators, Conference, Paper


5 Jul , 2019   Video

The 2019 Engineering and Mechanics Institute Conference (EMI 2019) was held at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, LA on June 18-21, 2019 and saw approximately 1000 delegates meet to exchange ideas about emerging engineering concepts.



Crude application incorporating multiple folds based around the Miura-ori origami fold pattern.


Emily Birch was invited to present her research paper ‘Active Origami – a new active material for architecture’ to an enthusiastic audience as part of the ‘Origami/kirigami….Mini-Symposium’.  The presentation highlighted the novel use of hygromorphic bacterial spores to create an actuator which produced a reproducible bending deflection in response to environmental humidity.  The novel concept also demonstrated that the magnitude of the deflection was correlated with relative humidity in the environment and the number of bacterial spore layers applied during the fabrication of the actuator.  Further, it was shown that this hygromorphic actuator was capable of generating a force which could lift a small load.  This suggested that the concept could be used, not just to cause the deflection in one ‘fold’, but also in multiple folds and an early pilot showed that this was possible.  The mini-symposium session had focussed on many aspects of origami and kirigami engineering and the specialists in the audience were able to contribute in the questions afterward, raising some interesting points about folding mechanisms and potential fail-safe systems in future developments.

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