A Swedish startup plans to bring ‘industrial origami’ to outer space

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The ancient art of origami could have a future in space.

Sweden’s first astronaut and the European Space Agency (ESA) this week unveiled a new project inspired by the paper folding technique.

The program will use technology designed by Stilfold, a Swedish startup that has pioneered a manufacturing process called “industrial origami.”

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The technique uses robotic arms to fold steel sheets over curves to form complex and lightweight shapes.

Stilfold previously used the approach to bridge an electric scooter. According to the company, the techniques resulted in 70% fewer components, 40% reduction in weight, 20% lower material costs and 25% lower labor costs.

The team believes that such savings could be particularly powerful in space, where they could allow it complex structures to be constructed with minimal materials and components. In addition, the method requires no stamping or welding.

Stilfold’s co-founder Jonas Nyvang envisions folding vehicles and food storage facilities into outer space.

“You can’t bring much to the room because it takes up limited space,” he told TNW. “The flexibility of our technology allows you to bring stacked sheets that you can easily store, then create things by unfolding it when you’re there.”

To test the theory, Stilfold will work with Sweden’s International Space Asset Acceleration Company (ISSAC), a new organization backed by ESA and Swedish astronaut Christer Birdsong,

The team will now spend 12 months exploring the possibilities.

STILFOLD co-founders Jonas Nyvang and Tue Beijer