Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Based on the model of the bird-of-paradise flower

First Gips-Schüle Research Prize for bionic façade shading systems

An innovative folding mechanism without joints and hinges: Prof. Dr. Jan Knippers from the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) at the University of Stuttgart, Prof. Dr. Thomas Speck, Director of the Botanical Gardens at Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Dr. Markus Milwich from the Institute of Textile Technology and Process Engineering Denkendorf as well as their employees are being presented with the Gips-Schüle Research Prize awarded for the first time for the bionic façade shading system Flectofin® and the further developments based on this.

Bionic façade shading systems

University of Stuttgart ITKE

The award is to be presented by retired Minister of State Erwin Teufel on 23rd October 2013 in Stuttgart. The Gips-Schüle Foundation is endowing the prize with 40,000 Euros and will be awarded every two years in future.

Flectofin® is a changeable construction inspired by nature for architecture: it works like a vertical blind. The direction of the louvers can be changed as required in the case of the infinitely adjustable folding mechanism. However, the researchers have done without wear-prone and high-maintenance joints and hinges. In place of this the elastic deformation is based on the folding mechanism in the blossom of the strelitzias. The flower is pollinated by birds in its home country of South Africa, that settle down on the “perch” formed by the plant made of misshapen petals. Due to the weight of the bird, the petals unfold and the plant releases pollen that the bird transfers to the next blossom.

The basis for the Flectofin® folding mechanism is a plastic reinforced with glass fibre that has highly elastic properties and is very malleable. Opening and closing the louvers is linked with bending a rod integrated in the louver through which it turns down up to 90 degrees. The basic principle can be developed into various versions. Since the folding mechanism works without technical joints or hinges and Flectofin® systems can also be attached to curved facades that are burdensome to shade, the researchers are hoping for an important stimulus for modern architecture. The Flectofin® shading system can be used from detached houses up to large façades measuring up to 20 to 30 metres. The research team was already awarded the “Techtextil Innovation Prize 2011 – Architecture“ for technology by Europe’s largest and most important industrial fair for technical textiles as well as the “International Bionic-Award“ by the Schauenburg Foundation in 2012.

The Gips-Schüle Foundation was set up in 1965 with the assets of the Schüle family that had founded the first gypsum factory in Stuttgart in 1870. Its purpose is to promote applied, multidisciplinary research and teaching as well as young researchers. By awarding this prize the foundation is honouring interdisciplinary research projects with a high degree of innovative potential and sustainable benefits for society.

Further information:
Prof. Jan Knippers, University of Stuttgart, Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design,
Tel. 0711/685-83280, info [at]
Prof. Thomas Speck, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Director Botanical Gardens
Tel. 0761/203-2875, Email: thomas.speck [at]
Dr. Hans-Herwig Geyer, University of Stuttgart, Head of University Communication and Press Spokesperson,

Tel. 0711/685-82555, Email: hans-herwig.geyer [at]

Andrea Mayer-Grenu | Universität Stuttgart
Further information:

More articles from Awards Funding:

nachricht VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation
26.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnologie IPT

nachricht Changing the Energy Landscape: Affordable Electricity for All
20.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE

All articles from Awards Funding >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>