One of the problems with natural disasters and man-made disasters alike is that you can't always tell when they're going to happen. Sometimes, they knock out important structures, like bridges that connect two landmasses separated by a body of water.
Researchers from Japan have developed a truly awesome folding bridge, which has been reportedly based off of the ancient art of origami paper-folding, which can be folded up when not in use, transported on a trailer, and deployed in emergency situations to provide a quick way for emergency personnel to cross water.
But emergency disasters might not be the only thing that the bridge is useful for.
For example, imagine officials needing to close off a bridge for a crime scene, or some other situation; this new portable bridge could provide unforgiving traffic with an alternative route across a body of water. It could also allow incomplete bridge projects to be temporarily accessible for a period of time ahead of their completion.
The metal frame of this bridge is highly durable and it takes only about an hour to set up after it has been brought to a deployment site. Using scissor-like folding joints, the bridge can be expanded or shortened as needed like an accordion.
"A crucial point is how to expand a portable bridge. Usually a crane and a team of technicians is needed, but not in this case," Dr Paolo Beccarelli, Assistant Professor in Architectural Structures at the University of Nottingham explained in a comment.
It's being called Mobile Bridge 4.0 and was presented not too long ago by the researchers at an engineering symposium in Japan on June 23rd.
The current design is somewhat of a prototype, although future plans are to make the bridge even more lightweight, more portable, more compact, and even faster to set up in emergency situations.
This will be an awesome addition to the world's transportation system as the world calls for more advanced ways to handle situations that slow traffic down or completely disable over-water transportation routes.