Material that takes after pine cones

It closes when wet and opens when dry. Pure genius.

water reacting material

On one of his walks through rainy Hyde Park in London, product design student Chao Chen discovered the defense mechanisms of a pine cone. He found out that (this will blow your mind) when it rains, the cone’s outer shell closes to shut out any incoming water and protect its inner seeds. Such a simple solution and one that Chen decided to translate into the human world, with the creation of a material that essentially does the same thing. It’s a water-reacting architectural surface that closes when it rains and opens when there’s sun. The applications for the material are endless. Imagine a shelter in the park that uses the material. You’d still have to worry about lightning, but it’d be a dryer refuge than trees.

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Via Fast Co Design