Meet the transforming house that travels with you at the push of a button
Devin JonesGeneral Materials Machine Building engineering sustainability U.K
Ten Fold engineering currently lists 40 different applications for the technology on their website, with more being developed everyday.
Instead of selling your home, packing years of trinkets into boxes and moving cross-country for a new job, why not literally fold up your house and bring it with you? Well, according to U.K based Ten Fold Engineering the concept is an active working prototype.
At the push of a button, Ten Fold’s self-deploying structure unfolds within 10 minutes without the aid of a foundation, crane or workers to three times its transported size and includes pre-installed fittings and fixtures.
“The idea came from the principal that if buildings were transportable they would be more useful because they could bewhere and when they were needed,” said Ten Fold CEO David Martyn. “Given that buildings are mostly full of air, folding the solid parts allows you to move quite a large building in a in small box.”
The technology is built around a lever-based system where a series of interconnected linkages counterbalance one another. So despite the heavy load, the structure retains its integrity and only a small amount of power is needed to move them. The use of strategically placed “pins” allows for a flexible joint system where any specific piece of the linkage can act as the foundation. This eliminates the need for complicated locking and feedback mechanisms. Simply put, when unfolding into a desired structure, specific levers move up while others move down, counterbalancing each other the entire time and negating the weight of the load.
This versatility in specifying the foundation or “fixed bar” piece of linkage diversifies the ways in which the structure can be manipulated, allowing for three different structures to be built from a single linkage system. As all of the levers are pin jointed and triangulated, the unfolded structures are extremely strong while remaining durable and easy to use.
According to Ten Fold, this technology extends beyond foldable homes, citing the need of a lifting mechanism as a prime example. Instead of a using a scissor jack relying on a single pivot point, Ten Fold uses a two-pivot system allows for a stronger base and longer extension point. Additionally, there’s a whole host of designs currently in the design phase including, simple fences, bridges, shipping containers and housing structures for solar panels.
In terms of a modular home, the prefab-esque structure allows for users to design unique floor plans, even stacking or interlinking structures to create something out of Ex Machina (We see you Oscar Isaac). Ten Fold also has preconfigured structures like their “tree house,” design for example, which unfolds into a gigantic winged tree house or the “moot hall,” a large a-frame tent.
What’s also interesting about the Ten Fold technology is how’ve they’ve decided to bring it to market; licensed out to third-party engineers and manufacturers, Tent Fold is making the technology easy to get a hold of and comes with a through set of tutorials and instructions. And despite a vague response when asked Ten Fold would be launching their technology for commercial use, Martyn did state that they’re actively working with interested parties and “are hopeful that industry will embrace Ten Fold technology and incorporate it in their manufacturing programs as soon as possible.”
I did ask Martyn about the potential applications of their wind, solar and bridge designs in terms of sustainable eco-friendly projects, and Ten Fold seems keen in working with governments to help reduce waste and redundancy since the technology is able to adapt to the incoming needs of different communities.