Saturday, 7 June 2014

Foldable Boat

My guess is that you've never seen anything like it. A boat that can be folded and carried with you as you go on a vacation or sailing. No need to carry the boat on the roof of your car. Aton Willis of California designed a foldable boat with plastic (polyethylene) that can be astoundingly folded (including paddle) into a large suitcase that can fit into your car trunk instead. 

He said he was inspired by an article on “advances in the science of origami," which led him to begin sketching ideas for a folding kayak. Willis was quoted as saying, 

"I started working on this a few years ago and I moved into a studio apartment in San Francisco and had to put my kayak in storage. And at the same time I read this magazine article on origami and people doing new and amazing things with folding technologies and that just got me thinking about if it would be possible to actually build a kayak and fold it up just like a piece of paper," 

The Oru kayak is made from a double-layered plastic scored with permanently molded creases to allow it to easily fold away. Its single seam sits at the top of the boat and is sealed with watertight rubber gaskets to prevent leaks. Once unfolded, the Oru Kayak is 12-feet long, and about two-feet wide. When folded away it comes to a relatively compact 33 inches by 29 inches.

To get the project started, Willis mounted a crowd-funding campaign. The campaign was so successful that his funding target was met within the first day: "When we Kick started our campaign, our goal was to raise $80,000, but we managed to hit that goal in five and a half hours. It was a very magical day." 

Other foldable inventions includes Brompton folding bicycle, folding Razor scooter, the icon folding airplane and the MIT-backed Hiriko folding car.
Yves Behar, Chief Creative Officer of the wearable technology company Jawbone, says "I think the kayak is a very ambitious project. I mean, imagine essentially taking a boat and folding it into a backpack ... You have all the dangers of the sea. People are putting themselves out into your kayak, so it's very risky."

Good design, Behar says, is about ensuring that a product is in line with contemporary thinking and consumer demand: "The key to good design for me is to create products that are really in sync with 21st-century ideas, in sync with the notion that sustainability is something that is obtainable and non-expensive, in sync with the notion that people want to make things their own, to build them or enjoy them in their own way."