This past week RISD’s Design Science students had an opportunity to work with Dennis Dreher on one of his new projects, Octabug.The Octabug is Dreher’s foray into a reproducible die-cut kit that enables anyone to quickly assemble their first jitterbug. Dreher states that the project is still underway and in need of an instructional booklet to accompany the the pieces. Dreher hopes, with the help of RISD, to create a final product that could be brought to market.

The Octabug is made possible by one of Dennis Dreher’s earlier inventions,  the dihedral hing. While working with Buckminister Fuller, Dreher created the dihedral hing, which allows the Octabug to move in a controlled pattern from a octahedron to a cube octahedron and has enabled the creation of a large number of other polyhedral jitterbugs. In 2010, Dreher’s inspritation led to the creation of several elegant metal jitterbugs by Alex Savard, RISD ID ’12.

This was the first time that the dihedral hing had been used to create an aggregation of jitterbugs. After each student had completed an Octabug the class undertook an effort to join them into a much larger structure. The final aggregation was the first of its kind, combining the dihedral hing and a multi-part structure, an infinite number of octahedra could be joined to create larger and larger groupings. This class effort helped to underscore the importance of collaboration to create innovation. The result was a very exciting new discovery.


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