Flake concept features hundreds of active body panels

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Active aerodynamics are beginning to make their way into production vehicles, but adaptive winglets and electro-hydraulic flaps can't hold a candle to Da Feng's Flake concept.

Partially inspired by the lateral movement of the Cars characters, the ash from his cigarettes and concepts like BMW's Gina, Feng's vehicle started nearly three years ago as his final project at Conventry University.

What you see here is the third iteration of the Flake, which uses 250 active body panels controlled by mini solenoids pulling on carbon nano-tube wires. The result is a body that can lay flat to decrease drag, hinge upward to slow the vehicle and collect solar power or open fully to aid cornering and increase downforce.

Just as trick are the "D-Wheels" which are made up of 12 individual legs that extend upwards and contract downwards to fit the driving surface. Both the wheels and the body structure act as part of the suspension, allowing the Flake to corner hard and even go off road. Theoretically.

If it all sounds like science fiction, it is (and props to Feng for the shout-out to Snowcrash), but the budding designer did speak with an ex-Williams Formula 1 engineer who said the idea and execution is sound – with a few more tweaks. Check out the design in the gallery above and the video after the jump.

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