Jan 242008
 

Over lunch today I read a short news report in Nature about origami and mathematics. The article reports on a recent presentation by Taketoshi Nojima that describes folding a surprising range of “tubes, conical shells, circular membranes, movable/shape-changeable models and highly rigid 3-D cores” from flat sheet materials. Scroll through to the last few pages of the presentation manuscript to find pictures of some very serious origami indeed.

An example is this “pine cone” that neatly folds flat. This sort of research could lead to applications ranging from foldable drink bottles to “light sails” and antennae on spacecraft. Being able to fabricate rigid core structures from a flat sheet could also significantly reduce costs. Also, as Ian Stewart points out in the Nature article,

The mathematics developed along the way could also feed back into a better understanding of nature’s own origami: the growth and development of leaves, buds and insect wings.

Stewart coins the term “origamics” for this new field of study.

The article reports on a recent presentation by Taketoshi Nojima that describes folding a surprising range of “tubes, conical shells, circular membranes, movable/shape-changeable models and highly rigid 3-D cores” from flat sheet materials. Scroll through to the last few pages of the presentation manuscript to find pictures of some very serious origami indeed.

Reading about this research reminded me of my discovery of modular origami a few years ago. It might not have quite as many technological applications as origamics, but uses multiple sheets of paper to create very impressive structures. My long-standing favourite is the C-60 buckyball, and I’ve included a picture. Unfortunately, I’m yet to complete one of my own.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)