Applications of Mathematical Origami
- The October 2001 Siam News article "In the Fold", available in
PDF format, presents a range of applications of mathematical origami.
- Carlos A. Furuti
has a web site that explores distortions resulting from representing a spherical Earth as a flat map. He also explores the
virtues of a variety of polyhedral representations of the Earth and
gives templates so that you can make your own origami polyhedral
- Tom Hull wrote a paper, available as a PDF file, that discusses
a practical map fold that allows a user viewing one small section to
shift in any of the four cardinal directions without completely
opening and refolding the map.
- Koryo Miura invented a widely celebrated procedure for folding a
map called the Miura-Ori fold
that is vastly superior to the conventional method. With his fold, a
map opens and closes more easily and has less of a tendency to tear at
folded corners. This method also has applications in other
technologies, such as designing foldable solar sails. Olivier Boisard
gives detailed directions for folding a
Miura-Ori map. Erik Demaine's photo collage from the 3rd
International Meeting of Origami Science, Math, and Education includes
some pictures of the Miura-Ori map and a model of the solar sail
unfolding in space. Under the "Space" link on their Think Quest
origami site, Yuka Aihara, Sachiko Akikawa and Urara Akashi show some
pictures of a Japanese solar
sail, launched in 1995, that used the Miura-Ori fold.
- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is developing a number of
telescopes. SPACE.com's web site has an article with additional information about the design of one of the telescopes.
Erik Demaine has some photos of a model of a folding telescope.
- EASi Engineering GmbH used folding algorithms from origami to
create a software system that tests the safety of airbag packings for
- A group at the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute has used
origami theory to develop a sheet metal design
system for the Intelligent Bending Workstation Project
(IBW). The TRUMPF
Group also uses ideas from origami in their sheet metal designs.
You can download an excerpt
in PDF format from their book The Fascinating World of Sheet
Metal discussing connections to paper folding.
- Tomoko Fuse has a number of ideas for more efficient paper product
designs that are made from a single sheet of paper and use no
adhesives. The designs are based on mathematical origami principles
and the products can all be made by machines on a production
Nagpal is using ideas from biology and origami in the field of
artificial intelligence. Radhika's thesis
presented a language for a self-organizing system that achieves global
goals via local computations. The global language is based on
axioms of geometric origami, and the local instructions are inspired
by developmental biology.
- A number of engineers combine origami with biomimetics
(engineering that mimics mechanisms found in nature) to develop new
technologies. The Deployable Structures Laboratory at the University
of Cambridge has a number of projects relating to biomimetics and