Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a way to make solar panels more efficient and their inspiration comes from Kirigami, a traditional Japanese paper cutting art form.
One of the largest problems with solar cells is their tendency to become less efficient as the sun moves across the sky, putting the cells either out of direct rays of light, or in shadow. By cutting the solar cells in a specific pattern, and then mounting motors on the edges to “stretch” them, the cells can change angle and trace the path of the sun across the sky. This maximizes efficiency and makes small scale (consumer) panels and cells more viable.
An in-depth article can be found here.