Flectofin by the University of Stuttgart’s Institute of Building Structure and Structural Design

Inspired by the valvular pollination mechanism in the Strelitzia reginae flower (commonly known as the Bird-Of-Paradise) the flectofin is a hinge less louver system that is capable of shifting its fin 90 degrees by inducing bending stresses in the spine caused by displacement of a support or change of temperature in the lamina. The product was developed by Simon Schleicher and the good folks at the University of Stuttgart’s Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE). In the natural world pollinating sun birds will land on the plant’s adnate petals causing temporary deformation and the release of pollen. When the weight of the bird is displaced the petals revert back to their original position closing the pollen perch.


The use of hinge less mechanical systems reduces the amount of maintenance commonly associated with interactive facade systems. Though the Strelitzia reginae was the focal point of this project there are many other species of plants that are worthy models for kinematic study. More information on products inspired by biomimetic design can be found at the University of Stuttgart’s homepage or on Simon Schleicher’s blog which features a video of the 3D printed prototype at work. This project and others like it exemplify the importance of biodiversity in the natural world and its continued inspiration to help solve everyday design problems. Great work.

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