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'Developable mechanisms' are built into the surfaces of structures

Real science has finally caught up to the science fiction of Iron Man's transforming exoskeleton suit. Engineers have developed a new technology that helps build complex mechanisms into the exterior of a structure without taking up any actual space below the surface. This new class of mechanisms, called "developable mechanisms," gets its name from developable surfaces, or materials that can take on 3D shapes from flat conformations without tearing or stretching, like a sheet of paper or metal. They reside in a curved surface (similar to the arms of Iron Man's suit) and can transform or morph when deployed to serve unique functions. When not in use, they can fold back into the surface of the structure seamlessly.

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