Swedish design and technology startup Stilfold is stepping into space, with an exciting new project that aims to identify applications for its origami-inspired manufacturing technology in outer space.
The startup – renowned for pushing the boundaries of design and innovation – is working with Sweden’s International Space Asset Acceleration Company (ISAAC) to discover how Stilfold’s “origami” manufacturing solution can be used for transporting and constructing materials in space.
ISAAC is an innovative new organization, founded by serial entrepreneur Mattias Hansson and backed by the European Space Agency and Sweden’s first astronaut Christer Fuglesang, which aims to strengthen innovation on Earth using knowledge and discoveries from outer space.
Through this research and development project, the Stilfold team will have access to ISAAC’s network of resources and specialist expertise to support them as they develop their technology for space.
Over the next twelve months Stilfold will explore how their technology could be used for interior design solutions, transporters and food assembly in outer space, as well as how they can leverage existing space technologies to develop the perfect metamaterial for use with the Stilfold technology, both on Earth and in space.
Stilfold’s pioneering technology, dubbed “industrial origami”, involves the use of robotic arms to fold sheets of steel over curves to form intricate and lightweight new shapes.
It is particularly well-suited to the limitations of space, as it enables the construction of strong and complex structures using fewer raw materials and components and no stamping or welding. This has the potential to make it easier for astronauts to transport, preserve and construct resources.
Stilfold is currently being used by daughter company Stilride to build a sustainable steel e-motorcycle – but the potential applications for the technology are broad.
Jonas Nyvang, CEO and co-founder at Stilfold, says: “We are constantly looking for new ways to innovate and push the boundaries of our technology; and exploring the possibilities of taking the concept into space feels extra exciting.
“In our quest to find materials and solutions that have a minimal environmental impact, it is also incredibly exciting to be able to leverage the research and innovation that has taken place and is taking place around space travel to explore new potential applications for Stilfold.”
Christer Fuglesang, astronaut and senior advisor to ISAAC, says: “The results of the extremely advanced work that goes into getting us into space is knowledge and technology that can also be used to create better conditions for us humans on our beautiful blue planet.”
Cecilia Hertz, co-founder of ISAAC, says: “Space travel places very high demands on the material being transported. Any solutions that can help us streamline and improve this are of great interest to the industry as a whole.”