Whether they’re floods, earthquakes or landslides, natural disasters have a nasty habit of cutting survivors off from aid by destroying bridges. While traditional portable bridges can already be set up in such situations, researchers from Hiroshima University recently demonstrated a new model that is said to be “the world’s fastest, largest, strongest, and lightest expanding temporary bridge.”
Developed by a team led by Dr. Ichiro Ario, the Mobile Bridge Version 4.0 (MB4.0) was inspired by the Japanese folded-paper art of origami.
When not in use, the MB4.0 is contracted like an accordion and can be towed on a trailer. Once it gets to the site of a destroyed bridge, however, it employs a scissor-like action to fold out, its sections of decking sliding out end-to-end to provide a platform for vehicles.