An interesting student project from students at U. Penn: a “spiral zipper”, that packs flat and “zips” into an adjustable “arm” or at least pole . Aside from the fascination of watching this thing zip, the “flat pack” feature is cool.
The designers are looking to add mechatronics to make this into a robot arm, and imagine that the ribbon will be light and compact for transport, e.g., on a spacecraft.
But I can thing of a lot of simple uses (basically anything that needs a pole!). Viz:
- Mark Yim and Foster Collins, Design of a Spherical Robot Arm With the Spiral Zipper Prismatic Joint, in IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. 2016: Stockholm.