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Scientists Create Pop Ups And 3D Printed Objects

Update Date: Feb 01, 2016 10:38 AM EST

Do you think you can create an object out of a flat sheet of paper? Scientists have made a fundamental origami fold, the Miura-ori, which tiles the plane using the simplest mountain-valley folds, according to scienceworldreport.

Used first as a decorative item in clothes in the 15th century, the folded Miura can quickly be converted into a flat, compact shape and then unfolded quickly---all in just one continuous motion. It makes the fold ideal while packing rigid structures like solar panels. Moreover, it occurs in nature in a number of situations that might be either insect wings or even leaves.

Researchers in this study found a lot of flexibility within the folding pattern of the geometry. They wanted to check if the pattern could be a template for complex shapes such as "saddles, spheres, cylinders" and other shapes.

The pattern is seen as beneficial as it can create collapsible objects and help with space-bound payloads as well as other objects.

Scientists have created an algorithm in order to make some shapes with the Miura-ori fold, which can be repeated with small variations. The program first lays out the folds to create the design, after which it can be laser printed for folding. At present the shapes have a limited range, but the researchers are seeing if they could expand it.

"Essentially, we would like to be able to tailor any shape by using an appropriate folding pattern," said L. Mahadevan, one of the researchers, in a news release. "Starting with the basic mountain-valley fold, our algorithm determines how to vary it by gently tweaking it from one location to the other to make a vase, a hat, a saddle, or to stitch them together to make more and more complex structures."

The findings are published in the journal Nature Materials.

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