Engineering with Origami


On first glance it’s surprising that origami — a centuries old art of folding paper to achieve particular aesthetics — is applicable to engineering. But upon closer consideration there are a lot of reasons methods developed for paper folding are also applicable to engineering: origami allows you to take a flat sheet of material and convert it to almost any shape only by folding. Plus for large flat structures, origami provides a way of shrinking dimensions while ensuring simply deployment – this is particularly useful for solar arrays in space applications. Furthermore, motions designed to take advantage of the flexibility of paper can also be used to form compliant mechanisms for engineering like the kaleidocycle. Since the principles of origami are scalable, mechanisms can also be dramatically miniaturized.

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