Anyone who likes the Transformers movies, TV shows and comics will get a kick out of what I am going to share with you.  This is not a Science Fiction piece or something from a program that deals with fantastic stories that are fake.  Actually, I was surprised that this housing-building concept is paying tribute to the way structures were constructed over a 100 years ago.  

What I am talking about is transporting a huge cube to a specific area and then an actual home, in minutes, will unfold from it!  I am sure many are skeptical in reading this, as I was, but a United Kingdom company that is based there actually constructs these homes; the name of the company is Ten Fold Engineering.

 I came across them as an article in Digital Trends caught my eye and the entire article can be found at https://www.digitaltrends.com/home/ten-fold-engineering-foldable-buildings/.  Our discussion today will look at the technology involved that can make this happen and if these transforming homes will succeed or fail.

How do These Cubes Transform?

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Ten Fold Engineering is proud of this style of buildings that are self-deploying, modular and movable.  They are also excited about the key feature that allows this process to succeed, which rests on a cool lever system they patented, that oversees the counter-balanced folding linkages.  This process enables the home or structure to basically make itself; the only task that the owner needs to do is to press a single button and watch the magic happen as it unfolds. 

Once the transformation takes place, the crew uses an electric drill to secure the living area.  The way the unit collapses is accomplished by a winch pulling it closed; this has a fail-safe to it.  What is important to know is that the floors must be folded up for the unit to close.  The company on their website actually promises that no, it will NOT squash you.

Officials from the company pointed out that even in its’ compacted structure, there is room enough inside to put in some furniture.  The base unit is referred to by the company as the U-Box and when it is unfolded, measures roughly 645 square feet.  Once the area is determined and the U-Box arrives at its’ destination, the structure will unfold to what they say is three times the size of its’ original transporting measurement; the fittings and internal fixtures are pre-installed.

How Does Ten Fold Envision These U-Boxes to be Used?

While this system may make its mark in home construction, is this how the company envisions the only way to use U-Boxes?  The answer would be no, according to founder David Martyn who recently spoke with Forbes magazine.  Martyn said, we wanted to do something new, but at the same time, we wanted to challenge people to think differently about structures.  We live in houses that are stuck in the ground. We aren’t a nomadic culture anymore, so this is a new concept based on a modern interpretation of nomadism as it relates to the global economy.  Apparently, Ten Fold has invested heavily on the diverse ways products like this can be utilized. 

Looking at the economy, one use that many would consider this to be productive and cost-effective would be homes that are affordable to purchase; however, they are picturing other uses for the U-Boxes.  One example would be converting these foldable structures into a school that depending on the need, can be transported from location to location.  Also, there is the possibility of dropping by air, let’s say into Africa, single-family homes that are affordable.  The mobility factor can also be applied to educational buildings, medical clinics and refugee camps.

Ultimately, is This Science Fiction of Science Fact?

While some would speculate that this technology is expensive and will take years for the public sector to be exposed to this, those individuals would be correct as well as mistaken.  Compared to the costs of traditional homes, the U-Boxes are reasonably priced as the predicted cost would begin at roughly $130,000; therefore, those who thought this type of housing would be costly would be incorrect.  However, they may be correct regarding availability to the public as it is uncertain when models will officially be available for families to purchase.  Yet, Ten Fold is doing a different approach as the company is offering to license out the patented technology to those contractors who wish to use it; this allows manufacturers that are local to construct projects while Ten Fold avoids shipping out units to places throughout the world.

There is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel in that product deliveries may start before 2020.  Ten Fold has confirmed on their website that production drawings for European standards are finished, which are in the process of the building codes being converted into American standards.  Furthermore, the hope of the company is to start deliveries of the product by the conclusion of 2018; there is the possibility that this could be accomplished sooner for mainland European and American markets.  The face of the construction industry is vastly changing with Ten Fold’s breakthroughs being just one of many new techniques being used in the construction industry.  Being how advances in technology and engineering are constantly happening, it appears the homes of Science Fiction are no longer a question of if it will ever happen but precisely when they will occur.  What do you think?

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