Origami is an art to fold papers, napkin, fabric, or any other to form a particular shape. It is originated from Japan, which you might have inferred from the name, but has been known all over the world. You might remember when you were a kid, you liked to tear a piece of paper from your book and fold it into an airplane. That is also an origami, although it is the simplest one. Other simple shapes include a ship, a tulip flower, or a hat.
An origami master, on the other hand, can form a semi-realistic figure like a bumblebee, a dragon, or a complicated structure of a building only by folding a piece of paper. Inspired by the art, engineers have found out that its use can surpass its artistic purpose.
The old art that dates back to the 17th century has been researched deeply by scientists and has inspired many breakthroughs. Here are four of them.
Space solar panel
Space solar panel gives energy to either a space station or plane. But the problem with solar panels is that they need to be assembled to form a broad surface to gather the maximum amount of solar heat. This design would be impractical if launched directly without a folding technology. And there is where origami comes in handy.
Solar panels of an aircraft are folded in a very precise manner to avoid overload. And then once the craft is outside the atmosphere, the panels unfold and recharge the craft’s energy.
As surprising as it may sound, your car’s airbag is one of the origami-inspired products. If you ever notice the true size of an airbag, you might have been wondering how it fits in the dashboard container. Origami has made the folding very efficient in both the folding and unfolding process.
The idea of a tiny robot that can insert to your body as a capsule and expand once it is inside might be scary. However, this will be very helpful in medic. Invasive surgery might be omitted and replaced with the robots. It can repair your internal organs without incisions that can damage the outer tissues. But today, the technology is still in its infancy.
The real transformers
The idea of mechanical folding can contribute to many aspects of the industry. Industrial machines with an advanced folding design will require minimal space to store when not needed. Once applied to heavy-duty equipment, origami can make transporting them becomes easier than before.