Using Math to Make Complicated Origami Sculptures

What is Origami? Origami used to be flapping birds and toys. However origami today has evolved into an art form or even sculpture. The common in origami is folding. Probably the most common form of origami is the crane. Every Japanese child learns to fold this shape. But has everything that can be done with origami already done?

In a video I recently watched, Robert Lang talks about how origami, math and engineering principles have changed the way we fold paper today.   He has found a way to merge math with origami creating mind blowing intricate pieces that are not only beautiful but have real life applications too. This scientific approach has made it possible for origami artists to create shapes not possible before. His repertoire includes a replica of a cuckoo clock, a snake with 1000 scales and a 2 foot allosaurus skeleton. All of this is the product of a software he created. He has been practicing origami for over 40 years and is recognized as an origami master and engineer.

He tells us that origami is useful in the real world. The structures developed in origami have real life applications in medicine, consumer electronics, space and more. For example Koryo Miura studied a simple folding pattern which he used to design a solar array which flew in space in 1995. The eye glass telescope had a 100 meter diameter lens which used origami techniques to fold to be shipped in space. Heart stents grafts inspired by origami are also being used to hold open blocked arteries. This stent used an origami pattern called the water bomb base. Airbag designers also benefit from origami by getting flat sheets into a small space.

Clearly origami has evolved from being a child’s hobby to a fantastic art form and even as a means to solve modern day problems. Time might even come when origami can save lives.

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