Academic project Washington University in St. Louis
Arch 112 / Spring 2017
Critic: Elisa Kim
The Peacock Mantis Shrimp owes its evolutionary success to its brightly-colored outer shell and ability to move
its abdomen swiftly to violently attack prey. The pleopods (swimming legs) and segmented shelled abdomen allow for
flexible movement, yet the mechanics are intricately rigid.
The crustacean's specialized movement informed the design of a 'flying machine,' a kite that moves through the
wind inspired by how the Mantis Shrimp treads and propels through the water. Circular, sliding joints allow the
kite's panels to move in tandem. For strength, panels made out of mylar were securely sewn onto and sandwiched
between basswood components. The marbelized, sea green kite skin pays homage to the Mantis Shrimp's colorful
exoskeleton that played a crucial role in its evolution.