Take your favorite thing, fold it in half, and tell me if it isn’t at least twice as cool. Beds, tables, and even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches all seem to get better when you can fold them. Maybe it’s because we are growing ever more space-conscious as a society, or maybe it’s just because we love making things small and portable, but whatever the reason, the number of cool gadgets and everyday objects that can fold in half is growing all the time.
To pay homage to the expanding list of foldable items, here are the top five coolest foldable technologies that are unfolding in the near future (or have already unfolded):
1. Folding Bike
Foldable bikes are now popular all over the country, but when they were first released they were revolutionary. Instead of chaining or locking your bike to a rack or a stairwell rail and risk having your bike stolen or vandalized, you could simply fold your bike in half and carry it with you into the office, your home, your boat—wherever!
Most people probably won’t geek out over a foldable circuit, but the technological implications of a flexible circuit are impressive. Applications of a foldable circuit included a personal computer than can be worn and health monitoring systems that can be implanted in the body for accurate and perpetual monitoring. Circuits are conventionally installed on thick, rigid sheets of plastic, and their use was constricted to flat, structured surfaces. But when installed on flexible rubber, the possibilities unfold incredibly.
Similar to the folding circuits, folding solar cells might only deeply excite the irrevocably nerdy, but they still represent a significant advance for the alternative energy field. Not only are foldable solar cells more versatile in terms of where they can be placed, they are also more efficient collectors of the sun’s energy. This little foldable could drastically change the way you use electricity in the future.
As if controlling your cell phone or tablet by touching the screen wasn’t cool enough, imagine if the screen itself were flexible! Folding screens for smart phones and tablet devices are in the works now, with an as of yet undetermined release date, but the concept is certainly worth getting excited about, and cooler than a fold-over sandwich.
5. Folding Car
Yes, you read that correctly: a folding car. The geniuses at MIT are developing a car that literally folds up to half its length, as a space saving measure. Think of all the times you see a space on the curb between two vehicles that you could park in if only your car was three feet long instead of twelve—this foldable car may not be three feet, but it could revolutionize driving and parking in the city. Oh, and did I mention that it’s electric?
As time goes on, there will probably be even more foldable objects that tech geeks will drool over, but for now, these are, in my opinion, the coolest foldables out there since the foldable lawn chair.
Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online colleges, online degrees etc. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.