The world’s first RETRACTABLE 3D printed BRIDGE unveiled: it unrolls with your smartphone

The bridge is operated via Bluetooth from your cell phone. It's made with a 3D printer and inspired by a movement in nature

Credits: goooodcn

The bridge is operated via Bluetooth from your cell phone. It’s made with a 3D printer and inspired by a movement in nature

The world’s first RETRACTABLE 3D printed BRIDGE unveiled: it unrolls with your smartphone

# The Wisdom Bay Innovation Park “caterpillar”

Retractable bredge working – Credits: 3dprintingindustrycom

Created by BLUE Architects in collaboration with Tsingua University, the world’s first 3D printed retractable bridge has been unveiled in Shanghai. It is located in the Wisdom Bay Innovation Park, headquarter to more than 300 tech companies, specialized in artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality or 3D printing as applied to everyday life.

The footbridge has an innovative design, the bridge born to remain rolled up on itself and, to be used it needs a Bluetooth command, activated by single users. When rolled up, it takes the form of a wheel ready to open up and looks like an urban sculpture.
The telescopic panels of the bridge, to unite the two sides of a river, unroll imitating the movement of a caterpillar: instead of becoming a butterfly, the wheel becomes the trait d’union that allows you to cross the river.

# From traditional Chinese painting to high technology

Traditional Chinese paintigs – Credits: goooodcn

This unrolling platform reaches a length of 9.34 meters, 1.5 meters wide and the side handrails bring the height up to 1.1 meters.
The bridge takes less than a minute to unfold and be ready for use.  The entire structure is composed of 9 telescopic elements, the main body of which is a combination of more than 50 panels of exclusive design.

The vertical triangular elements are one of the strengths of the project. Zhu Huiran and Chen Haibiao of BLUE Architects explained that they were inspired by traditional Chinese paintings and used complex non-linear algorithms to achieve the digitization. The result, in addition to bringing to life the paintings of artists such as Qi Baishi and Wu Changshuo, gives additional strength to the materials.

In fact, the bridge bears up to 20 people walking across it at the same time and is equipped with sensors and alarms to prevent overloading. The printing material is a composite PC, obtained by mixing polycarbonate and fiberglasses. It makes it much lighter than using steel, since the bridge of Wisdom Bay Tech weighs “only” 850 kg and the realization in 3D printing required a total of 450 hours of work, carried out by an exceptional hybrid printer, Gantry class, with 6 axes.

Vertical triangular element – Credits: goooodcn

# From demo tests purposes to urban applications

Project drafts – Credits: goooodcn

The use of 3D printing to make structures for civil-urban use has always been for demonstration purposes, so far.
Still in Shanghai, in the Baoshan district, there is another concrete bridge made with 3D printing, which is currently the largest in the world made with this technique.
Designed by Tsinghua University’s JCDA team led by Professor Xu Weiguo, it is a 26-meter elevated crossing, printed in concrete and aesthetically make it silk crinkles-like.
Replacing concrete with the more eco-friendly polycarbonate can lighten the impact of these infrastructures, as the demo of a pedestrian bridge installed in Shanghai’s Taopu Smart City, which uses 3D printing as an architectural element for urban renewal, tries to demonstrate.

Also in Europe there are leading projects in the field of urban application of these techniques.
In the heart of Rotterdam, in the Kralingse Bos Park district, there is a platform that is the first to use fiber-reinforced thermoplastics. Also in the Netherlands, the construction of a bridge over 29 meters long has been announced. Once finished it will be scheduled to be the longest 3D printed one in the world.
In Paris, a 40-meter pedestrian crossing in 3D-printed concrete is expected for the 2024 Olympic Games.

Wastage reduction and environmental sustainability can give a big boost to the construction industry in every Country as well.
Especially the coiled ones that unroll on command, can give away an incredible experience for all citizens who somehow find themselves generally crossing rivers and waters
Want to watch it in action and tell us what you think?

Continue reading: The LONGEST WOODEN BRIDGE in the world