• Elvin Ou

week2- Inflatable-Exploration and Bio-Inspiration


Part 1. Inflatable exploration


It was super fun in class seeing how inflatables are made, the material and the techniques. For the assignment, I wanted to make an inflatable of my dog's face chewing a bone. From there, I started sketching out the shape that I wanted to create and then I wanted to avoid the tracing of it. Instead of cutting out the shape, I use the paper on top and used the iron to iron the edges of the paper cut on top of two layers of mylar.

Th ironing method was actually pretty effective, but the iron tip was detached from the handle so that I had to use a fabric to wrap it around to use it. Since the iron got really hot and the fabric that I wrapped around wasn't thick enough, I got burnt so many times.... After I finished the ironing of the shape, I was supposed to trace the edge and cut out the shape. However, I was actually pretty difficult to see all the edges so I ended up accidentally chopped off the bone off the dog face.

The inflatable did not turn out to be what I had in mind, I think the size of it limited the shape so that I decided to remake a bigger version of it. This time I decided to do the paper cutouts and then the mylar cutouts and then using another two layers to sandwich them for ironing. The first test of using the flat iron actually did not go well, the temperature was so high that it burnt the testing mylar. After turning the flat iron to low mode, I was able to successfully iron the whole thing.

After the ironing, I started the trimming of the edges. I did it pretty carefully this time so that I did not miss-cut any part of the shape. However, when I was inflating it, I was trying to hard and the inflatable exploded. Some of the edges teared apart after I blew too hard, but I managed to fix it by adding another two layers of mylar and ironing them on top of the broken part to seal it.



Part 2. Bio-inspiration

Mimosa pudica[3] (from Latin: pudica "shy, bashful or shrinking"; also called sensitive plant, sleepy plant, action plant,[4] Dormilones, touch-me-not, shameplant, zombie plant, or shy plant) is a creeping annual or perennial flowering plant of the pea/legume family Fabaceae and Magnoliopsida taxon, often grown for its curiosity value: the compound leaves fold inward and droop when touched or shaken, defending themselves from harm, and re-open a few minutes later. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimosa_pudica)

This plant interested me in couple aspects:


1. Sense of touch:

As fragile or thin or ordinary as this plant seems to look like, it has the ability to sense a foreign touch and react to it. The idea of a plant being able to sense touch from outer source is quite amazing to me.


2. React:

After receiving and sensing the touch, the plant has the ability to flex and react and reform itself. The ability oft he physical reformation is really quite amazing.


3. Central axis:

At its ordinary status, the plant structure has a central axis that distribute its petals/leaves along the side as a fan shape. After it is being touch, the central axis acts like a pivot system where leafs on both side fold in towards each other to form a thicker layer of protection.


4. Repetition:

The repetition fo the leaves and how they are mirror make the reaction more efficient.



Product inspiration:


Definitely something reactive in the way the an outer source contact triggers a function, maybe a function that would thicken the layer of the material for protection; maybe a function that would create a grip onto something; maybe a function that would reform its own shape and perform a wrapping system.