Hankook Origami Wheels

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Squeezing the sides of the hub together can nearly double the rolling diameter of this origami-inspired wheel
Squeezing the sides of the hub together can nearly double the rolling diameter of this origami-inspired wheel
Hankook tire and technology co/Seoul National University/Harvard University

Hankook’s R&D department has been working with biorobotics experts from Seoul National University and Harvard engineers on a weird transforming origami wheel project. These folding oddities can drastically alter their diameter and carry heavy loads.

It’s taken nearly a decade to get to this point, but the team has got a fully functioning set of transforming wheels built and attached them to a couple of demonstration vehicles, demonstrating that the wheels can vary their diameter from 46 to 80 cm (18.1 to 31.5 in), while supporting enough weight to put a full-size vehicle on top.

The wheels are a three-layer construction based on a thick, flexible composite membrane designed to fold along similar lines to an origami waterbomb. To add structural strength and wear resistance, the non-folding panels are sandwiched with laser-cut aluminum facet panels, which hold most of the membrane rigid, with the exception of the fold lines.

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About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).