Origami Sightings - Science

Compiled by Janet Hamilton

Ron Resch, 1968 US patent, 3,407,558 (which you can look up on www.uspto.gov) “Self-Supporting Structural Unit having a Series of Repetitious Geometrical Modules” – Essentially a patent for a number of different tessellation patterns. http://patimg2.uspto.gov/.piw?PageNum=1&docid=US003407558&IDKey=A68CB403943D&HomeUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fpatft.uspto.gov%2Fnetacgi%2Fnph-Parser%3FSect1%3DPTO1%2526Sect2%3DHITOFF%2526d%3DPALL%2526p%3D1%2526u%3D%2Fnetahtml%2Fsrchnum.htm%2526r%3D1%2526f%3DG%2526l%3D50%2526s1%3D3%2C407%2C558.WKU.%2526OS%3DPN%2F3%2C407%2C558%2526RS%3DPN%2F3%2C407%2C558 

"Light Elements - Essays on Science from Gravity to Levity", by Judith Stone, 1991, Ballantine Books - New York, ISBN 0-345-36608-5. Stone was an "award-winning Columnist for Discover Magazine".  In a chapter titled "A roach called Asa", the author interviews "Alice Gray, doyenne of cockroaches at the American Museum of Natural History in New York "... and at that time "president of the Friends of the Origami Center of America". Also mentioned briefly was "Lillian Oppenheimer, widow of two millionaires and the first origami teacher of note in this country". And "The editor of the Origamian, a newsletter for paper folders, was deported for being a pornographer (probably Gershon Legman), and the illustrator went off to be a knife thrower in a circus (probably Adolfo Cerceda)". The rest of the chapter was devoted to insects and such.

From an article on Newsweek.com (Dec. 5 1999) about IBM's new proposed supercomputer. "The speed of the proposed machine, dubbed Blue Gene, is astronomical. It would handle 1 quadrillion operations per second-that's 15 zeroes-making it the first "petaflop" computer. That's 500 times faster than today's scorching supercomputers and 2 million times faster than PCs. Monty Denneau, one of the countless bouncy geniuses at IBM's labs, told NEWSWEEK that if a conventional PC's speed were represented on a bar chart as one inch tall, the bar for Blue Gene would reach 30 miles. ... Working with pharmaceutical companies, IBM hopes to solve one of the greatest mysteries of molecular biology: how the proteins that our genes produce fold into their functional shapes. Once scientists better understand that molecular origami, they can simulate the effect of drugs on those proteins and potentially produce cures. The complexity of the task is so confounding that today's computers can barely simulate a fraction of the folding process..."

At the IEEE MEMS 2000 conference in Miyazaki, Japan (MEMS = Micro Elecro Mechanical Systems = teeny machines made using IC fabrication technology), one of the poster papers, by Elliot Hui of UC Berkeley, featured several 3-dimensional pop-up structures fabricated on a silicon wafer. The concept is to deposit flat layers of polysilicon and pattern them like die-cut sheets of paper in a pop-up. Although the sheets of polysilicon are rigid, the process includes a way of making hinges that join adjacent layers, so the layers can fold along pre-selected lines. The process allows multiple layers of "paper" (polysilicon), so the result is very much like a pop-up book. Typical dimensions for these structures are in the few hundred microns (several hair diameters). The piece de resistance of the presentation was an SEM photograph of a tiny 3-D pop-up model of the UCB clock tower, complete with windows, spires, and pyramidal cap.

The January 29th, 2000 New Scientist has two origami birds the front cover and about six inside. It is related to an article on pigment in birds and how it effects their immune system and mating habits.  See http://www.newscientist.com/ for an image of the cover (you must be a subscriber). The birds were commissioned from Paul Jackson.

Nathan Kane of Austin, Texas, while a doctoral candidate in Mechanical Engineering at MIT, succeeded in making a major improvement to a technology that has existed since the Bronze Age: bellows. A bellows is a flexible, pleated chamber used to conduct or contain air---the most familiar type being the pumps used since ancient times to stir up a fire in a furnace or fireplace. Kane's innovation was to apply mathematical analysis to the accordion-like fold patterns used in bellows to discover the most efficient pattern possible. Kane's mathematically optimized folds allow his bellows to extend two to three times further than a standard bellows made from the same amount of material, and yet they are shorter than the standard when compressed.  For his own inventions and for inspiring young persons to invent, Nathan Kane was awarded the 1997 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize. http://web.mit.edu/invent/n-pressreleases/n-press-97SP.html 
Nathan Kane

Origami is now a genetically engineered bacteria strain that folds proteins better than most. Click on the protein expression link first, and then scroll down for a description of the Origami strains.  Origami™ Strains  Folding as never before possible! Origami is a fitting name for a breakthrough E. coli strain that optimally facilitates disulfide bonding and thus protein folding as a result of a trxB/gordouble mutation. Origami(DE3) hosts are ideally combined with the pET-32 vector series, in which the thioredoxin fusion tag increases solubility and further enhances the formation of disulfide bonds. Multiple configurations of the Origami host strain are available for different applications." http://www.emdbiosciences.com/html/NVG/boost-expression.html 
Bacterial Strains icon

Science News, Volume 158 Dec 23 & 30, 2000 - "Proof clarifies a map-folding process".

Week of Jan 13, 2001,  Volume 159, No. 2 carried an article about map folding and origami in ScienceNews Online. The focus of the article is on OUSA member Erik Demaine and his research. "Demaine's interest in foldability arose out of his hobby, origami. Mathematicians and others have been studying ways to systematize origami design by developing rules that would enable a computer to calculate what sequence of creases in a square a paper will produce a desired figure. Important to this task is a determination from a crease pattern whether the resulting three-dimensional figure can collapse neatly into a flat form, as required in traditional origami.” http://www.sciencenews.org/20010113/mathtrek.asp 

NASA newsletter, May 2, 2002 - "Instant Glider--Just add Light". "But Mars's atmosphere is very thin--less than 1% as dense as the Earth's--so a glider would need very long, thin wings to stay aloft. With traditional rigid wings, even a master of origami could only fold them so small. To pack the glider into as small a package as possible for launch, some researchers are exploring the idea of "blow up" wings that inflate when needed." http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2003/02may_bigblue.htm 

IBM Annual Report 2000 page 38  A photo of Ajay Royyuru, Manager, Structural Biology whose "real job" is Protein Origami.

Popular Mechanics included an article in the 10/1/2000 issue called "Natural Origami". While the sequence patterns of genes has been mapped, it doesn't really give a lot of information about the function of the associated proteins. Sung-Hou Kim has proposed that the function of the genes may also be predicted based on their folding patterns. While the number of different proteins may be in the hundreds of thousands, there are probably less than ten thousand distinctly different types of folds, and these may be grouped into a smaller number of families. If members of families have similar functions, then the functions of proteins may be able to be predicted just by their folding pattern. http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/medicine/1281006.html 

In the U.S. there is ongoing controversy about using embryonic wtem cells for medical research. The argument really concerns people's view of the definition of when life begins. An article in the NYTimes, "Stem Cell Issue Causes Debate Over the Exact Moment Life Begins," quotes an embryologist: "A third response to the question of when life begins is that the "when" is impossible to pin down. That is the view of Dr. Brigid Hogan, an embryologist at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Hogan, principal author of a 1994 National Institutes of Health report on embryo research, is an expert on the mouse embryo, which is similar to the human embryo in its early stages. In her view, conception marks not the beginning of life, since both egg and sperm are alive, but merely an increase in complexity. Many people think of the embryo as a tiny homunculus that just grows bigger. To Dr. Hogan, the building of an embryo is a process like origami, except that the sheets being bent and tucked are made of cells instead of paper. The early embryo is "a flat little sheet that gets folded," she said. A pivotal event is when a spearhead of cells, called the node, loses contact with its neighbors and moves into the fold, sending out signals that give the embryo a polarity and structure...." http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F70816F93D5A0C768DDDA10894D9404482 

A paper on using origami to teach surgeons: "Teaching three-dimensional concepts of inguinal hernia in a three-effitive manner using a two-demensional paper-cyt" Mann BD, Seidman A, Haley T, Sachdeva AK. Am J Surg 1997 Jun;173(6):542-5

In the Sci-Tech section of the osOpinion.com website (2/15/02) there was an article titled "How Origami Helps Science, Saves Lives", about Robert Lang and Erik Demaine and how they apply origami to solve engineering problems such as robotic arm manipulation, bioinformatics, protein folding and molecular biology, and the eyeglass space-based telescope. http://www.osopinion.com/perl/story/16379.html.

On the Space.com website, "Origami Astronomy: The Art and Science of a Giant Folding Space Telescope" by Robert Roy Britt, talks about Robert Lang: " Robert J. Lang is respected in the art community for folding a mean swan. He's written a half-dozen books on how to make paper airplanes, ants and animals. An admirer called one of his works "arguably the best moose design ever." In engineering circles, Lang is known as a guy who can figure the best way to stow a car's airbag. With a sheet of paper and techniques of the ancient Japanese art of origami, Lang can solve just about any problem with a few creases. Folding together his artistic skill, a Ph.D. in applied physics and a background at NASA, he also dabbles in how to take a telescope the size of a football field and stuff it inside a rocket."  http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/technology/origami_design_020220-1.html

In a high school Chemistry textbook, in the section on covalent bonds, there was the picture of kangaroos from Zulal Ayture-Scheele's "Beautiful Origami." The caption read: “Paper can be easily colored, cut, and folded. These properties are put to attractive use in the Japanese art of origami. What kind of bonds unite the atoms in the molecules of a sheet of paper?”

Nature News Service website. 2/18/02, reported on the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2002 Symposium and a talk called "Mathematics and Science of Origami: Visualize the Possibilities". Erik Demaine, one of the four speakers (the others were Martin Kruskal, Robert Lang, and Jeremy Shafer), also was profiled in a feature on the first page of the Sunday Boston Globe (02.17). “Origami solves road map riddle” “Erik Demaine of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge has come up with an origami algorithm that predicts when a stubborn street plan will be re-foldable.” http://www.nature.com/nsu/020218/020218-1.html 

NewsFactor Network 2/15/02, “How Origami Helps Science, Saves Lives” “By using computers to solve origami shape and folding challenges, scientists are applying the ancient Japanese art of paper folding to solve problems in the creation of such high-tech devices as a folding space telescope and automobile airbags.” http://sci.newsfactor.com/perl/story/16379.html 

A press release written by Emilie Lorditch from the American Institute of Physics was called “Scientists “Toy” with Origami As A Solution”, 2/12/02. “Fold the paper in half and then fold it in half again and eventually that piece of paper will be transformed into an airplane, a hat, or a peace crane. Origami-the ancient Japanese tradition of paper folding has long been recognized as an art, but now origami is providing the answers to real world problems in mathematics, engineering, and astronomy proving that origami is more than just child's play. Examples of origami techniques applied to scientific research will be presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston, MA in a session entitled, "Mathematics and Science of Origami: Visualize the Possibilities" on February 15, at 2:30pm ET.” http://www.aip.org/isns/reports/2002/037.html  

“Scientists take art into fold” By Michael Stroh, Sun Journal, March 3, 2002. “Origami: The Japanese craft of paper bending helps solve design problems in spacecraft and offers clues in microbiology. In return, computer users embrace and expand the art.”

Spotted in The Hindu (an online edition of India’s National Newspaper), 3/7/2002. “Origami helps solve problems” – “Origami - the ancient Japanese tradition of paper folding has been recognised as an art. But now origami is providing the answers to real world problems in mathematics, engineering, and astronomy proving that origami is more than just child's play.” Martin Kruskal and Robert Lang are quoted.

Abcnews.com 3/24/2002 “Not So Simple – Researchers Can’t Solve Everyday Mysteries” by Ned Potter. “Lobkovsky says he became intrigued how strong a ball of crumpled paper is. It forms all sorts of ridges and points that act the way a truss does in a building. Someday, he says, crumpling paper could lead to better "crumple zones" in cars, to protect occupants in accidents.”

6/10/02 on Ananova.com: “Laser powers ‘paper plane’”. Japanese scientists have developed a laser powered paper plane. A blast of light from a commercial laser heats up a droplet of acrylic polymer or water on its surface which acts as fuel. The tiny plane is just a few centimetres across and made from folded aluminium foil.  http://www.nature.com/nsu/020603/020603-8.html and http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_604533.html?menu=news.technology 

Reuters 1/1/2003 “Tongue Surgery May Help Patients with Mouth Cancer” by Stephanie Riesenman
In a new technique, Haughey and colleagues remove the cancer and create a replacement tongue in a 10-hour procedure that involves taking tissue from the forearm or thigh, where thickness is best and nerve tissue is available. The surgeons construct a new tongue by rolling and folding the tissue on top of itself to model the original. "It's almost an origami-like set of moves," said Haughey.

The Origami Clinic is a brain injury clinic associated with the Michigan State University. Marilyn Lewis talked about how she started using origami in therapy, observation of a 10 minute window, and about a few of the models that she has found useful. http://www.healthteam.msu.edu/clinics/ClinicDetail.asp?key=138 

United States Patent number 6,542,529 submitted April 1, 2003 for a “Folded Cavity, broad laser source” by Mats Hagberg and Robert J. Lang. “A broad stripe semiconductor laser has a folded cavity that permits the laser to produce output powers into a high quality beam with low divergence. The folded cavity includes a first material region disposed within the cavity having a first refractive index and a second material region having a second refractive index less than the first refractive index, and forming a first interface with the first material region.” http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=/netahtml/search-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=ptxt&s1=6542529.WKU.&OS=PN/6542529&RS=PN/6542529

Folding At Home - A distributed computing project harnessed idle compute time for protein folding calculations http://www.foldingathome.com (website is no longer active)

June 13,2003 - Hebesphenomegacorona Photo credit: The crew of ISS (International Space Station) Expedition 7, NASA - "What's a hebesphenomegacorona doing onboard the ISS? We're not sure. It was made by Ed Lu or Yuri Malenchenko using paper and tape. One of them fixed it to the top of the Destiny Lab window and took its picture with the cloudy Pacific Ocean in the background." http://science.nasa.gov/ppod/y2003/13jun_hebesphenomegacorona.htm?aol691324 
 

From the 7/27/2003 Daily Yomiuri, “Origami could have vital industrial applications” by Yuichi Shibata. "Japanese scientists and engineers have launched a task force to promote the industrial application of the art of origami, a traditional Japanese craft art in which square pieces of paper are folded into animals, dolls, boats, aircraft and other objects." The article talks about using origami to strengthen cans, fold noodle containers, control crumpling in auto crashes, and fold light sails for space ships.

NewScientist.com “Origam helps cellphone cameras to focus” 9/3/2003
Thanks to a novel and ultra-cheap micromotor technology, cellphone cameras should soon be able to zoom and focus with the same precision as the autofocusing lenses used in expensive stills cameras. … 1 Limited is using a technique closer to origami than engineering. It uses a simple roller with fine blades to cut a pattern of parallel slits in a 0.1-millimetre-thick sheet of a piezoelectric ceramic material called lead zirconate titanate. …If the sheet is rolled into a cylinder, forming a tube mount for a lens, the optical components can be twisted, turned and slid backwards and forwards under electronic control.”  http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99994096 
Picture messaging in close-up

Popular Science’s second annual “Brilliant 10” September 2003 – Number 5 is Erik Demaine, assistant professor of computer science at MIT, who studies computational origami, and received one of this year's MacArthur "Genius Awards.": 

"Ancient art of origami shapes high-tech gizmos" , by Sonia Krishnan, in the Christian Science Monitor, 9/17/06. Talks about using origami design techniques to design crumple zones in cars, energy efficient satellites, portable telescopes, solar panels, and airbags. Another unique use was using a foldable structure to absorb vibration in order to reduce concrete crumbling in high-speed train tunnels. http://csmweb2.emcweb.com/2003/0917/p01s03-woap.html 

In the 10/11/03 edition of the Globe and Mail (Canada) there is an article titled "Unfolding the field of computational origami" by Stephen Strauss.  22 year old Canadian scientist Erik Demaine has won a foundation award, partially because of his research in Computational Origami. The article goes on to discuss the future potential in science and engineering that origami holds, as well as more daily practical applications like folding a map or installing a safety airbag in a car. http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20031011/FOLD11/ 

In the 10/28/03 issue of Applied Physics Letters is a paper describing micromirrors made using a fabrication process which the authors have called micro-origami. The authors are affiliated with ATR/ACR Lab in Kyoto, Japan. There's an SEM picture of their company logo made using this process. One of the big challenges in MEMS research (microelectromechanical systems) involves making really tiny movable mirrors, for use in optoelectronics. Making structures which stick upright is somewhat difficult, since most microfab processes involve patterning along the plane of the device. This paper describes a process of making a hinge from two different materials, and then letting the hinge fold up as a result of compression/tension forces between these two materials. As a result, the mirror gets raised out of the plane, at which point lasers are used to tilt it in the direction you want. Micro-origami is an original method to fabricate three-dimensional self-assembling micro-machined structures. This method is being applied to the fabrication of MOEMS (Micro Opto Electro Mechanical Systems). http://www.acr.atr.jp/acr/general/report/dept4/micro-origami/micro-origami-e.html 

Wired Issue 11.12 December 2003 – “Genius on Paper” by Joshua Davis – Tom Hull and origami uses in math and science research. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.12/start.html?pg=12 
Joel Benjamin

Boulder Daily Camera, CO 1/5/2004 ... "Over the next few days, scientists will be sending commands to the Spirit [Mars Rover] to unpack itself through an "anti-origami suite of maneuvers" and get it ready to travel ..."

1/10/04 - From the Jet Propulsion Lab web page: "JPL's Chris Voorhees, who led the engineering team that planned the unfolding sequences for Spirit and its sister rover, Opportunity, said 'Spirit has spent most of the last seven months scrunched up inside of a tetrahedral-shaped lander, and that is not the shape a rover wants to be. Over the last several days, Spirit has performed a sort of reverse robotic origami.'"

The Japanese beverage company Kirin uses "folded" cans for some of their products. The pattern is known as PCCP shell. A close-up picture is at http://www.kirin.co.jp/brands/hyoketsu/html/productinfo/cut.html 

2/16/04 “Nano-Origami - Scientists at Scripps research created single, clonable strand of DNA that folds into an octahedron" - “Similar to a piece of paper folded into an origami box, the strand of DNA that [William] Shih and [Gerald] Joyce designed folds into a compact octahedron -- a structure consisting of twelve edges, six vertices, and eight triangular faces. The structure is about 22 nanometers in overall diameter.” Another article, "A 1.7-kilobase single-stranded DNA that folds into a nanoscale octahedron" was authored by William M. Shih, Joel D. Quispe, and Gerald F. Joyce and appears in the February 12, 2004 issue of the journal Nature.
http://www.innovations-report.com/html/reports/life_sciences/report-25733.html and http://www.betterhumans.com/News/news.aspx?articleID=2004-02-12-3 

From the University of New Mexico Computer Science Department website: "High School Students Nab Science Fair Prizes" March 26, 2004. "With a mentor like CS Dept. Chairman Deepak Kapur, John Reid and James Colovos were off to a good start, and now have made a good finish, by taking top prize in the group project category for their computational origami project at the Northwestern Regional Science Fair of NM. Their project was also recommended to be sent straight to the Intel International Science Fair."

“Origami is a joint partnership between Peckham Vocational Industries and Michigan State University, dedicated to developing the science of brain injury rehabilitation. Since its creation in April of 1997, Origami has affected the lives of hundreds of people with traumatic brain injuries and their families and friends.” “The art of rehabilitation requires some basic ingredients, but as in origami, the shape and form in which a person will take depends on the direction he or she is led.” “But the real beauty of Origami lies inside, where new lives unfold in a unique, individually-focused program of clinically effective, cost-effecient care.”  http://www.origamirehab.org/index.html
origami sign            

The National Geophysical Data Center has a template and instructions for a globe from the traditional waterbomb: http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/education/education.html and http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/image/origamiearth.pdf 

In October 2003, Isis, the technology transfer company of the University of Oxford (UK) had the following on its website: "Oxford Invention Reaches Finals in 2003 Medical Futures Innovation Awards". Zhoung You, Lecturer in Biomechanical Engineering, University of Oxford, Department of Engineering Science - Invention: Origami Stents. "Scientists from Oxford have brought together the principles of the ancient Japanese art of origami with the modern medical treatment of stenting, creating a new family of stent grafts. Stent grafts are flexible expandable tubes which are used to prop open narrowed organs such as arteries and oesophagus or to protect the weakened aorta. The new technology allows stent grafts being made from any existing bio-compatible materials and adopted for different anatomic sites. The inventors believe that it will have significant advantages over current stent grafts including increased reliability and strength at much lower costs. For more information about the competition, visit www.medicalfutures.co.uk "

Robert Lang gave a talk titled "The Mathematics and Science of Origami" at the CSU-Long Beach Physics Colloquium in October 2004. http://www.csulb.edu/depts/physics/colloquium04-05/index.htm and http://www.csulb.edu/depts/physics/colloquium04-05/Oct25th2004RobertLang.htm. He gave another talk called "The Mathematics of Paper Folding" at The Institute for Figuring, also in October 2004. http://www.theiff.org/ . The talks covered origami, math, airbags, telescopes, heart stents, and how they all go together.

A paper about and origami heart stent: http://www.tulane.edu/~sbc2003/pdfdocs/0257.PDF 

Robert Lang gave a talk at Fermilab 11/2004. A streaming video recording of the talk is here: http://www-ppd.fnal.gov/EPPOffice-w/colloq/colloq.html 

The January-February 2005 issue of the journal American Scientists, page 12 - 16, had an article titled "Industrial Origami" which cites 4 references, including an article published by Robert J. Lang.

 3/18/2005, Vol 307 of Science, "Self-Organized Origami" by Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan. It makes an argument that flat surfaces can, under certain conditions, get themselves shrunk or expanded in such a way that first wrinkles--then compression folds--and finally a series of Miura-ori zigzag patterns arise on the surface, all by 'self-organization', that is, without specific instructions or manipulations for each individual fold. However, all leaves, flowers, insect wings etc. unfurl or unfold from a folded, curled or otherwise more compact structure. A minority of leaves unfold from a pattern that is indeed distinctly Miura-ori. But none acquire their fold lines by having first been a flat surface and then being compressed in one direction or stretched in another, which is the process described in this article. 
http://www.deas.harvard.edu/softmat/publications/index.html http://www.deas.harvard.edu/softmat/downloads/2005-09.pdf 

"Chemical Eye on Aestheitcs", published 1/22/2005 in the Arts and Public Affairs portion of the Nashville/Murfreesboro NPR station WMOT, by Preston J. MacDougall. "Judging from the decorating of offices and cubicles, one can readily observe that parenthood changes a person's definition of art. Take my office, for instance. One of the recent additions to my personal art collection is an origami-style cube of many colors made by my then 10 year-old daughter Aurora Claire." The author goes on to relate a story about building organic molecules in specific configurations, and how he came to realize that organic chemistry is origami at the nano-scale. http://www.yubanet.com/artman/publish/article_17350.shtml 

A paper was presented by Galen Pickett in 2005 at an American Physical Society meeting on "Self-Folding Membranes". The paper discussed how to get a membrane to fold into a desired pattern by scoring, and controlling the orientation of vertices through various physical mechanisms. http://www.csulb.edu/~gpickett/aps05.frame.pdf 

The July-August 2005 issue of American Scientist contains an article called "A New Understanding of Protein Mutation Unfolds" by P. Michael Conn and Jo Ann Janovick (Volume 93, Number 4, Page 314). The summary states "Conn and Janovick explain that many diseases, including cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer's and diabetes, are products of improperly folded—but potentially functional—proteins. When the authors added a template for correct folding (which they call a pharmacoperone) to a cell with such a "mutant" protein, the cellular defect was fixed." Although origami isn't mentioned in the article, there's a full-page image of the crease pattern for Robert Lang's "Silverfish, opus 449," overlaid with a photograph of the folded object, on page 315.

July 23, 2005, Science News Online, "Paper Bags and Tricky Folds" by Ivars Peterson reports work by Devin Balkcom, Erik and Martin Demaine, on the mathematics of using the standard paper grocery bag fold with rigid material. http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20050723/mathtrek.asp 
f6380_2781.gif

8/8/05 - The space shuttle Discovery, mission STS-114, transmitted a recording of origami on board as it started its journey back to earth. Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi folded a 'space frame' module and an origami crane and they can be seen floating around in the spaceship.

Published 8/8/2005 on the O'Reilly Network website, was a article "OSCON 2005: Know When to Fold 'Em", by Daniel H. Steinberg about a lecture by Robert Lang at the Open Source Conference. "During the Thursday morning keynotes at O'Reilly's Open Source Conference (OSCON) 2005, Robert J. Lang explored some of the connections between origami and open source in a talk titled "Computational Origami from Flapping Birds to Space Telescopes." Lang explained that not only has open source software contributed to origami as an artform, but the development of origami has also served as an apt metaphor for open source." http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/network/2005/08/08/origami.html 

The Pharmacy Museum & The Qwensel House, Turku, Finland, displays 19th century equipment,  furnishings, and pharmaceutical raw materials. On display are several long, narrow "magazine cover boxes." They were folded out of white paper to hold sticks of wax infused with medicines which could be melted onto cheesecloth to make medicated bandages and plasters.

Devin Balkcom did research at the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute on models of robot, animal, and human locomotion and manipulation, and how models of the environment inform robot action, including robotic origami folding. "It's something we humans can do well, but we don't understand the mechanical details," said Balkcom. "Because a five-year-old child can learn to fold origami, we assume that it is a simple process, but the movements it requires are quite complex." Balkcom's thesis project uses kinematics, the study of mechanisms, to determine how folding motions are made and how paper can be treated as both a flexible and a rigid material. Because robots are so often used for industrial and manufacturing purposes, they are engineered to work with rigid materials, Balkcom said. Paper presents a significant problem because it is flexible.  Balkcom built his origami robot with an industrial mechanical arm and a tiny suction cup attached to the arm to pick the paper up, rotate it and place it over a narrow gutter in the worktable. Then a ruler descends and presses the paper into the gutter to create a crease. This method is much less precise than a human and brings to light some interesting insights and questions about mechanisms. http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~robotics/ 
Devin J. Balkcom and Matthew T. Mason. Introducing robotic origami folding. 2004 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~devin/papers/proposal.pdf   
Devin. J. Balkcom. Robotic origami folding. CMU Robotics Institute thesis proposal, October 2002. http://www.cs.cmu.edu/%7Edevin/papers/djb-icra04.pdf
http://radio.weblogs.com/0105910/2004/05/14.html 
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2004-05/cmu-cms051304.php
 
http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~robotics/papers/thesis.pdf 
Click to download the quicktime movie (14M). 

A lecture and exhibition of Origami/Metal/Foil was held at Fermi Labs in Batavia IL 9/1/2005-11/4/2005. The exhibition and lectures were by Lane Allen, Robert Lang, and Chris Palmer. http://www.fnal.gov/pub/Art_Gallery/schedule/index.html 

A V8 Engine made entirely out of paper (except for motor, wires, etc.) features many moving parts which include “a compound crankshaft, a rapid cooling fan, 8 rods, 8 pistons and a complex compound gearbox etc.”. The engine is powered by 2×1.5V D Batteries and weighs 2.98kg. From start to finish this model took one year to design and construct. There is even a D.I.Y. kit in the works that will be released shortly at the price of $85 USD. There are videos of the engine in action at this site: http://www.techeblog.com/index.php/tech-gadget/functional-paper-v8-engine 

"Folding DNA to create nanoscale shapes and patterns", by Paul W. K. Rothemund, was published in the magazine Nature, issue 440, pages 297-302 (16 March 2006). http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v440/n7082/abs/nature04586.html  Also, from CBC News, 15 March 2006, "World's smallest smiley faces made with 'DNA origami'". http://www.cbc.ca/story/science/national/2006/03/15/dna-origami060315.html The articles describe a method where short DNA strands staple a very long strand into two-dimensional structures, or are used as nanometer-scale pixels that create patterns on a surface. The the two smiley faces shown are about 100 nanometers across (1/1000th the width of a human hair), 2 nanometers thick, and is comprised of about 14,000 DNA bases. Half of these DNA bases belong to a long single strand, the other half to about 250 shorter strands, each about 30 bases long. The short strands fold the long strand into the smiley face shape. http://www.dna.caltech.edu/~pwkr/ In September 2007 Rothemund was named as one of 24 recipients of the 2007 John D. and Katherine T. MacArthur Foundation's "genius prize", a 5-year, unrestricted fellowship "to individuals across all ages and fields who show exceptional merit and promise of continued creative work." A great shot talk by Rothemund himself is available on TED at http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/paul_rothemund_casts_a_spell_with_dna.html A new study, led by Hendrik Dietz, now at Technische Universität München  in Germany, with William Shih and Shawn Douglas of Harvard University, arranged DNA molecules in a honeycomb lattice shape. Adding base pairs on some sides selectively, they were able to make the DNA structures bend themselves down to a super-small curvature radius of only 6 nanometers. This allows scientists to produce continuously curved structures such as gears and spheres. http://www.rsc.org:80/chemistryworld/News/2009/August/06080901.asp http://www.popsci.com:80/scitech/article/2009-08/nano-origami-goes-3d-and-curvy 

The ORIGAMI Project: Advanced Tools for Creating and Mixing Real and Virtual Content in Film and TV Production - Oliver Grau, Reinhard Koch, Fabio Lavagetto, Augusto Sarti, Stefano Tubaro, Jan Woetzel, from "Vision, Image and Signal Processing", IEEE Proceedings Journal, volume 152, issue 4, pages 69-84, August 2005. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_all.jsp?tp=&arnumber=1497190&isnumber=32151 http://istresults.cordis.lu/index.cfm/section/news/Tpl/article/BrowsingType/Short%20Feature/ID/58639 http://icadc.cordis.lu/fep-cgi/srchidadb?ACTION=D&CALLER=PROJ_IST&QM_EP_RCN_A=57819 . The website for the project does have an outline of a folded swan as part of its logo. http://www-dsp.elet.polimi.it/origami/ 

Matt Gardiner has created oribots - crease patterns with a mechanism that allows them to fold and unfold, creating installations that change and bloom.
http://www.oribotics.net and http://blog.oribotics.net and http://www.airstrip.com.au 

Scientific American, May 2006, page 28 is an article called "Origami from DNA". The article talks about folding DNA, and some of these shapes can be designed to self-assemble.

In the July 2006 issue of Discover Magazine (page 60), there is an article on origami written by Jennifer Kahn. The article focuses on Robert Lang, the TreeMaker program, and the commercial/scientific applications of origami. Satoshi Kamiya's approach to origami is also discussed, and there is some commentary by Tom Hull.

August 2006  - on the fourth floor of Boston Children's Museum is a 9' by 6.5' origami quilt (300+ units) made by members of the Science Club for Girls. The girls designed the quilt shape and color scheme, folded the pieces and then put them all together live at Children's Museum.

September 1, 2006 - The 2006 Indianapolis Prize is being awarded to Dr. George Archibald co-founder of the International Crane Foundation, for his work to learn about and preserve crane populations. To celebrate, the Indianapolis Zoo is encouraging families to start an origami crane-making project. The article at http://wthr.com/Global/story.asp?s=5356524 includes a link to folding instructions. Other info:  http://www.indianapolisprize.org/content.aspx?cid=778 http://www.indianapolisprize.org/content.aspx?CID=798 http://wthr.com/Global/story.asp?s=5356524 

presstelegram.com, 9/17/06 - "What does origami - the ancient art of paper-folding - have to do with cancer? ... [Galen] Pickett is among a number of researchers who see potential scientific applications of origami geometry. ... Pickett's designs have significance beyond aesthetics. His origami shapes represent potential microscopic machines that could theoretically deliver cancer-killing drugs to afflicted cells in a much more narrowly targeted way than current chemotherapy techniques can."  http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_4355224

10/4/2006 - The Ig Nobel Awards took place at Harvard University. The tongue-in-cheek event recognizes scholarly achievements that make people laugh -- and think. This year's event allowed distinguished attendees to test their proficiency at folding paper airplanes and battering fellow intellectuals with aeronautical origami. http://www.improbable.com/ 

11/14/2006, in the Ottowa Citizen, '"Genius prize" winner says origami and math have a lot in common' by Tom Spears. "The youngest professor ever hired at the Massachusetts Intitute of Technology (MIT) will give a public lecture in Ottawa Thursday evening to talk about paper folding. Erik Demaine, whose field include computer science, computational geometry and related algorithms, will give the 2006 Gerhard Herzberg Lecture illustrating how origami can lead to a better understanding of the formation of diverse geometric shapes. He will speak on how the understanding of geometric shapes improves current technology." http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=b297aa23-ddfe-43e3-b0ca-0d3b3bee6c21&k=98929 

Sighted January 2007 - David Attenborough's latest book, Life in the Undergrowth, states, "When beetles alight, they face another problem. Most elytra are shorter than the fully extended hind wings. If these hind wings are to be fully protected, then they must be folded before they are packed away. Many beetles perform this feat with an elegance and ingenuity that would do credit to a Japanese master of origami.

Origami Lens Slims High Resolution Cameras reports on work by Eric Tremblay and Joseph Ford at UCSD's Jacobs School of Engineering to develop an ultrathin "folded" optical system that acts like a telephoto lens. The 5-millimeter thick, 8-fold imager delivers images comparable in quality with photos taken with a compact camera lens with a 38 millimeter focal length. http://www.jacobsschool.ucsd.edu/news/news_releases/release.sfe?id=617 
Image credit: UC San Diego 

An Origami TV Remote Control Interface, was developed by Hayeon Yoo. It is essentially an origami fortune teller or salt cellar model that performs “Channel Selection” and “Volume Control” by manipulating the model. If current remote controls have too many buttons for you, maybe this is the answer! http://we-make-money-not-art.com/ http://www.interaction.rca.ac.uk/people/alumni/06-08/hayeon-yoo.html 

The February 2007 issue of Physics World magazine contains a short article by Robert J. Lang titled "The science of origami" about some of the scientific applications of origami. An abstract of the article is here: http://physicsweb.org/articles/world/20/2/6/1 http://www.cartoonbank.com/newyorker/slideshows/070219_orleanoragamiflash.html 

February 22, 2007 "Hydrogels make programmed chemical origami" on the Royal Society for Chemistry website. "... millimetre-thick gels constructed by Yael Klein and co-workers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem automatically crumple into flower-like structures when heated. They flatten out again when cooled in water. A sheet can be programmed to fold into any particular shape, thanks to the researchers' understanding of the gels' chemistry; though the options available - domes, tubes and sombrero-like structures - won't cause origami experts sleepless nights." http://www.rsc.org:80/chemistryworld/News/2007/February/22020702.asp  

April 2007 - an interesting video "Origami using the DaVinci Surgical System" shows the use of surgical tools to make a miniature crane - fairly well folded too, though slightly crumpled. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5997080660276538391&hl=en 

April 2007 - The Nanostructured Origami™ process borrows ideas from origami to allow nanofabrication of 3D shapes. By first patterning 2D membranes via conventional lithography tools and then folding them into an arbitrary layout, almost any 3D shape can be formed. Each of the folded membranes will have been patterned with the desired mechanical, electrical, optical, and other functions. http://web.mit.edu/optics/www/origami.htm 

April 11, 2007 in the Physical Review Focus [excerpted from Physical Review Letters], "Micro-origami" by Neal Singer. The article describes how researchers manipulate the thickness, shape, and springiness of membranes so that the surface tension on an added droplet causes them to fold in predictable ways. The site includes a short video. http://focus.aps.org/story/v19/st11 and http://focus.aps.org/stories/v19/st11/big-1.jpg 

NASA Science News for June 11, 2007 A Japanese tether of novel construction could unfold new opportunities in space. "NASA is joining a Japanese team in a space experiment that uses reverse origami to show the way to help keep satellites in their proper orbits, or to return spent rocket stages quickly to Earth. Les Johnson of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is working with Prof. Hironori A. Fujii of the Tokyo Metropolitan University on the Foldaway Flat Tether Deployment System--or Fortissimo, as it is sometimes called. "It's a new method for rolling out tethers in space," says Johnson. The mission is sponsored by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (ISAS/JAXA). ... "The Japanese team has designed a deployer that looks like the way firemen store their hoses. It's very different from anything we've used before," Johnson continues. This is the reverse origami part: The product starts folded, and is then pulled up from the top to produce a nearly straight line. In this fashion, researchers believe, the tether can be deployed 1 km in only a few minutes." http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2007/11jun_ff.htm?list165333

Nature issue 448 (26 July 2007) is "Mathematics: Some assembly needed", by Ian Stweart. It introduces the work done by T. Nojima, in his
paper "Origami Modeling of Functional Structures based on Organic Patterns", which is available at http://impact.kuaero.kyoto-u.ac.jp/pdf/Origami.pdf

"Flexible Energy Storage Devices Based on Nanocomposite Paper” published Aug. 13, 2007 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Robert Linhardt (of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) describes a new energy storage device that looks like a sheet of black paper. The nanoengineered battery is lightweight, ultra thin, and flexible. It is more than 90% cellulose, the same plant cells used in paper. The paper is infused with aligned carbon nanotubes, which act as electrodes and allow the storage devices to conduct electricity. The device can be rolled, twisted, folded, or cut into any number of shapes with no loss of mechanical integrity or efficiency. The paper batteries can also be stacked, like a ream of printer paper, to boost the total power output. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2007-08/rpi-bbs080907.php http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6945732.stm 
Credit: Rensselaer/Victor Pushparaj

August 23, 2007 - In order for asthma inhalers to perform effectively, the discharged medicine must be taken in coordination with a deep breath. This action can be very difficult for young children gasping in the midst of an attack. In these cases, supplementary devices called spacers are used to capture and hold the medicine until the user is ready to inhale. However spacers can cost more than $50 a piece. Stanford's Design and Medical Schools teamed up to create a flat-pack, foldable paper Respira spacers can be shipped by the hundreds for the cost of a stamp. http://www.core77.com:80/blog/education/ http://www.changemakers.net/en-us/node/1389 

September 6, 2007 - "Flexing Muscle Sheets Made With Rat Heart Cells" by Mason Inman in National Geographic News. "Imagine origami that can fold itself into the shape of a fish or a slug—and then swim or crawl around under its own power. Researchers at Harvard University have created thin sheets of elastic film studded with rat heart muscle cells that are bringing that fantastic scenario closer to reality. ... By cutting out triangles, rectangular strips, and other shapes of this material, the researchers were able to make living origami that could swim, grab, and crawl." http://news.nationalgeographic.com:80/news/2007/09/070906-flexing-muscles.html The original article is "Muscular Thin Films for Building Actuators and Powering Devices" by Adam W. Feinberg, Alex Feigel, Sergey S. Shevkoplyas, Sean Sheehy, George M. Whitesides, and Kevin Kit Parker in the journal Science, Issue 317, pages 1366-1370, dated September 7, 2007. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/gca?gca=317%2F5843%2F1366&sendit.x=85&sendit.y=4 
 

There are photos of a blank sheet and a page with the folded figures in The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution by Deborah E. Harkness. The book is about the history of science, medicine, and technology in Elizabethan London. (Yale Univ Press, 2007), pp 134-135.

November 2007 - Jingkuang Chen and colleagues from New Mexico University, Albuquerque, US, and National Taiwan University, Taiwan, created an ultrasound probe about the size of a grain of rice that could offer panoramic views from inside the human body. The device measures about 1 millimetre across, 1 millimetre long and is shaped like a hexagonal cylinder. They first patterned seven components on top of a flat silicon wafer. This silicon was then etched, allowing the wafer to be folded up origami-stlyle to form the hexagonal tube, with each face capable of emitting ultrasound and listening for the resulting echo. http://technology.newscientist.com:80/article/dn12882-tiny-probe-gives-wideangle-view-of-your-insides.html 

November 2007 - Saul Griffith, founder of Squid Labs and winner of a 2007 McArthur Genius grant, stated in an interview when asked what he might do with the grant money, "Right now I'm toying with a whole lot of ideas that otherwise wouldn't become reality but are pretty cool and should exist. For instance, I'd love to see a CAD program that allows you to enter folding patterns for origami and paper airplanes. Imagine an online application where every kid in the world could upload their favorite design for a paper plane or origami crane...that would build this wonderful rich library of paper folding objects. That's one beautiful possibility I'm contemplating that might be a little whimsical, but highly useful in an inspiring sense."

January 11, 2008 in Science magazine (pages 180-183), "Self-Assembled Water-Soluble Nucleic Acid Probe Tiles for Label-Free RNA Hybridization Assays" by Yonggang Ke, Stuart Lindsay, Yung Chang, Yan Liu, Hao Yan, all from Arizona State University. "The DNA origami method, in which long, single-stranded DNA segments are folded into shapes by short staple segments, was used to create nucleic acid probe tiles that are molecular analogs of macroscopic DNA chips. One hundred trillion probe tiles were fabricated in one step and bear pairs of 20-nucleotide-long single-stranded DNA segments that act as probe sequences. These tiles can hybridize to their targets in solution and, after adsorption onto mica surfaces, can be examined by atomic force microscopy in order to quantify binding events, because the probe segments greatly increase in stiffness upon hybridization. The nucleic acid probe tiles have been used to study position-dependent hybridization on the nanoscale and have also been used for label-free detection of RNA." The probes can then be used to examine thousands of genes at the same time for mutations or uncovering clues to disease. Previously, DNA probes were pinned to the solid surface of the microarray chips, so it was a slow process for the targets to search and find the probes. The new probes are self-assembling and water soluble. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/319/5860/180  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080110144839.htm 

The Japan Origami Airplane Association was tapped by researchers at the University of Tokyo to fold an 8cm (3.1-inch) plane made of specially treated paper that's tough enough to be launched from the International Space Station and return 240 miles to earth. A prototype tested in an "ultra-high-speed wind tunnel" at the university's Okashiwa campus was able to withstand mach 7 speeds and tempertaures of 446F (230C). Estimated reentry speed for the paper plane has been estimated from 5,300mph to 15,200mph (mach 7 to mach 20) and temperatures of 200C.  Origami experts will give Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata instructions on how to fold a 20cm-long piece of paper into a space shuttle. Prof Shinji Suzuki said: "The technology could lead to the development of a new space plane." Suzuki and Takuo Toda (of the Japan Origami Airplane Association) used origami paper made of sugar cane fibers that are resistant to heat, wind and water. They spray a special coating onto the paper and then fold it into shuttles about 8 inches long and 4 inches wide that weigh about 1.05 ounces.  http://dvice.com/archives/2008/01/space_shuttle_m.php http://techdigest.tv/2008/01/now_japan_wants.html http://www.discoverychannel.ca/reports/article.aspx?aid=6514 Video of the wind tunnel test - http://www.ctvdigital.com/discovery/reports/paper-airplane.wmv http://itn.co.uk/news/1470791ac64793b2de916a439f95636b.html  http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/player/nol/newsid_7230000/newsid_7230400?redirect=7230484.stm&news=1&nbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1&bbram=1&asb=1

UPDATE: NASA is close to approving nine origami space shuttles to travel on the Space Shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station in 2009. JAXA astronaut Dr. Koichi Wakata, who will be living aboard ISS when the origami planes arrive, will either throw the paper planes himself or use the space station’s robotic arm to release the planes from the Kibo Japanese Experiment Module. http://www.geek.com/articles/news/nasa-set-to-approve-japanese-fleet-of-origami-space-shuttles-2008108/ 

FURTHER UPDATE: May 2009 - Takuo Toda sets the world record for a paper airplane flight with a model that stays aloft 27.90 seconds, surpassing the previous record of 27.60 seconds.

The 3D/SiP Advanced Packaging Symposium at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club in Research Triangle Park, NC (April 28-30, 2008) will cover a wide range of application opportunities assessing the market, technology and business implications of three dimensional assembly technologies at both the package and product levels. Topical coverage runs the gamut from chip stacks and origami semiconductor packaging through package on package (PoP) board level assembly." http://www.smta.org/education/symposia/symposia.cfm 

Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan, England de Valpine professor of applied mathematics at Harvard University, describes how nature discovered origami in an article called "The Physics of the Familiar - How paint dries, the way flags flutter, how Nature discovered origami, and other marvels of the physical world" by Jonathan Shaw. "In his office, Mahadevan keeps an origami model of a leaf made of green paper, patterned like the leaves of beech or a hornbeam. “This is a very clever design,” he says admiringly. “You can open and close the leaf by playing with just one place.” Mahadevan manipulates the model with his fingers. A plant would use water pressure to do the same thing. “The folds in this leaf” he says, “are very different from those in a map, in which each fold is decoupled,” meaning that every fold can go either way—which is what makes road maps hard to close. In the leaf, on the other hand, all the folds are coupled to each other, so they open and close in unison. This same pattern, known as Miura-ori (after the Japanese engineer Koryo Miura), appears again and again in nature—in flowers and insect wings, for example, which have nothing in common at the genetic or molecular level—an apparent case of convergent design. Mahadevan thinks he knows why. ... this Miura-ori pattern arises naturally as the most efficient solution to a physical problem. " http://harvardmagazine.com/2008/03/p-the-physics-of-the-famil.html   http://www.seas.harvard.edu/softmat/ 
Self-organized origami,
L. Mahadevan and S. Rica, Science, 307, 1740, 2005. http://www.seas.harvard.edu/softmat/downloads/2005-09.pdf 

March 2008 - From the Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories comes the LED Foldie, which combines a traditional waterbomb with foil adhered in a circuit pattern, an LED, and a battery to make an illuminated lantern. http://www.evilmadscientist.com:80/article.php/papercircuitry 

March 3, 2008 on physicsworld.com "Physicists roll out nanotube paper" by James Tyrrell - Physicists at Tsinghua University, China developed a technique to develop a uniformly thick and well aligned array of nanotubes on paper by growing the nanotubes upright on a silicon substrate, placing a thin membrane over them, and rolling them flat with a steel cylinder. The silicon is peeled off and the membrane disolved with ethanol, leaving the buckypaper. To demostrate the flexibility they folded an origami swan. http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/33187 

March 12, 2008 on web-japan, "The Science of Origami" - "In 2003 the Japan Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics set up a research group called Mathematics of Origami Engineering under the leadership of Tokyo Institute of Technology Professor Hagiwara Ichiro and Dr. Nojima Taketoshi of Kyoto University." The article describes various applications developed from origami, including crushable water bottles, folding maps and space antenna, collision safety, noise control, heat shielding, and furniture. http://web-japan.org:80/trends/07_sci-tech/sci080303.html 

March 28, 2008 on Slash Gear, "Silicon chips go Gumby thanks to new stretchy circuits" by James Allen Brady - Professor John Rogers and his students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed integrated circuit chips that can bend and stretch. "You might be wondering why this is such a big deal since your motherboards aren’t going to be coming in origami shapes any time soon, but it matters a lot in the medical markets. For years people have been striving to achieve some method to easily and conveniently get computers and chips inside the body if not to help keep things in order in the body, then to, at the very least, monitor bodily functions and especially such functions that occur in the brain. The hard part has always been that even parts of the body that you might consider rigid are constantly moving, growing, or in motion, so rigid chips just wouldn’t cut it. Now, thanks to this latest advancement, they can finally start working on integrating such devices into the human body." http://www.slashgear.com:80/silicon-chips-go-gumby-thanks-to-new-stretchy-circuits-2810959.php 

May 2008 - "Mini-Origami: ISI Folds Up Tiny Packages for Drug Delivery" "Researchers at the USC Information Sciences Institute have demonstrated a way to manufacture miniscule containers that might be used to deliver precise micro- or even nano- quantities of drugs." The first step is creating the flat origami shape in polysilicon over a film of gold. The second step is etching the hinge areas (crease pattern). Folding is accomplished using magnetic force and water pressure. The hinged structures are only 30 micrometers on a side. "Voxels: volume-enclosing microstructures," J. Micromech. Microeng. 18 (2008) 055025. http://www.isi.edu/news/news.php?story=193#  http://www.sciencedaily.com:80/releases/2008/04/080429130931.htm 

November 2001 in the Journal of Animal Cognition Issue Volume 4, Numbers 3-4, "Leaf-folding behavior for drinking water by wild chimpanzees ( Pan troglodytes verus) at Bossou, Guinea", by Rikako Tonooka. "The chimpanzees folded one or more leaves in the mouth. This technique, "leaf folding", was observed more frequently (57.9 %) than "leaf sponge" or "leaf spoon". Chimpanzees began to perform this behavior at about 2.5 years old. Infant chimpanzees showed more frequent observations of others (especially their mothers) using leaves before trying to drink water with leaves. Both observation and trial and error might be necessary for the acquisition of this tool-use behavior." http://www.springerlink.com/content/hmbpwefp7116crrl/?p=cd02d16e66d540ffbb2767392d481e7a&pi=21 

May 11, 2008 in The Washington Times, "Digital gamers target disease" by Amy Fagan. Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a computer game called Foldit that enlists players to "fight against other deadly enemies: diseases and viruses."  Players will actually be protein folding, aiming to "condense the protein down to its most compact shape, with the fewest number of gaps or holes." High scores are investigated further by the University of Washington scientists. Zoran Popovic, "part of the team that developed the game," said, "Our ultimate goal is to have ordinary people play the game and eventually be candidates for winning the Nobel Prize."  http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20080511/NATION/35806017 

November 15, 2006 - "DNA-origami technique for olympic gels", in Europhysics Letters, 76(4), pages 616-622 by Galen Pickett. Olympic gels are formed from entwined rings as in the Olympic flag. "Taking advantage of the specific base-pairing interaction of DNA, I propose a robust method for creating melt topological or “olympic” gels. Flexible polymers which have been end-decorated with complimentary base-pair sequences will undergo end-closing reactions with either themselves (forming loops) or with neighboring chains (creating linear, but lengthened chains)." The loops dissolve on contact with DNA fragments, and may be useful in drug deliver as they can be created to dissolve under specific biological conditions.

The May 2008 of IEEE Spectrum magazine has a sidebar with picture of Jeannine Mosely peering out of her Menger Sponge on page 21.

TED Talks ("Technology, Entertainment, Design") aims to present the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers. In July 2008 Robert Lang presented a talk on origami, science, and math. As a follow up, Bruno Bowden folded a Lang action figure while Rufus Cappadocia played the cello. Go to http://www.ted.com/ and search for origami, or access the videos directly at these links: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/robert_lang_folds_way_new_origami.html and http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/bruno_bowden_folds_while_rufus_cappadocia_plays.html .

International high school and undergraduate students complete in the annual International Genetically Engineered Machine competition. They spend a summer doing research trying to create the best synthetic organism then present their research at MIT. In 2008, the team from Frieburg took second place by combining DNA origami  with receptors to attempt nanoscale control of cellular signaling. The team took a long piece of DNA and added many short carefully chosen DNA tethers to bind to the longer DNA in specific places and thus fold it into a particular shape. http://2008.igem.org/Main_Page http://2008.igem.org/Team:Freiburg 

In the MIT News February 24, 2009, "Knowing when to fold - Engineers use 'nano-origami' to build tiny electronic devices" by Anne Trafton. A team of MIT researchers led by George Barbastathis "uses conventional lithography tools to pattern 2-D materials at the nanoscale, then folds them into predetermined 3-D shapes ... the more folds that are added, the more energy it will be able to store. Extra layers also promote faster information flow, just as the human brain's many folds allow for quicker communication between brain regions." Jørgen Kjems, Kurt Gothelf and colleagues from Aarhus University, Denmark, have extended this process to create a nano-scale box that can be opened and closed using appropriate DNA strands. Dr. William Shih, lead researcher at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts extended this process to create strong, stable multilayered objects from DNA strings. These tiny structures may be used as biomedical nanodevices that could deliver drugs into specific cells.  http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2009/nano-origami-0224.html  http://www.rsc.org:80/chemistryworld/News/2009/May/06050902.asp http://thefutureofthings.com:80/pod/7311/dna-origami.html 

March 1, 2009 in the Business Mirror, "The Ikea Effect: When Labor Leads to Love" by Michael I. Norton. The article discusses the phenomenon where people value items more when they have to work to create them. "In one of our studies we asked people to fold origami and then to bid on their own creations along with other people’s. They were consistently willing to pay more for their own origami. In fact, they were so enamored of their amateurish creations that they valued them as highly as origami made by experts."

"Beyond the obvious efficacy information, readers need expanded sections on safety in reviews. When a person buys a drug, the drug comes with a package insert affectionately described by one of my friends at the Food and Drug Administration as:  'Everything you need to know about the drug written on Origami paper' There is no such 'Origami' guide when one purchases herbs." p. 695, in "A Brief History of Time: The Power of Botanical Systematic Reviews" by  Jeanette Ezzo, M.P.H., Ph.D. in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Volume 10, Number 4, 2004.

July 9, 2009 - 'Turtles Have Shells Due to Embryo "Origami"' by Ker Than in National Geographic News. A team lead by Shigeru Kuratani of Japan's RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology has shown that a turtle shell develops when turtle embryos undergo an unusual folding process during which certain portions of their skeletons and muscles tuck in on themselves, causing the ribs to form outside their shoulder blades and then fuse to form the shell. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090709-turtles-shells-ribs.html  http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/325/5937/154 http://www.newscientist.com:80/article/dn17442-embryo-origami-gives-the-turtle-its-shell.html  http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/07/how_the_turtle_got_its_shell_through_skeletal_shifts_and_mus.php?utm_source=selectfeed&utm_medium=rss?utm_source=networkbanner&utm_medium=link  http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2009/07/10/turtle-shell-develops-through-embryonic-origami/ http://www.abc.net.au:80/news/stories/2009/07/10/2622329.htm 

Reported in the September 9, 1009 issue of Nano Letters: Adam Woolley and co-authors Elisabeth Pound, Jeff Ashton and Hector Becerri from Brigham Young University found how to use "DNA Origami" to shape customized segments of DNA into tiny letters (100 nanometers) that spell "BYU." The advance here is creating something with curves and multiple branches.  http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl902535q 

The logo for the tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 10), which will be held in Nagoya, Japan in October 2010 is an arrangement of origami plants and animals in a circular shape with an adult and child in the centre. The slogan, “Life in harmony, into the future” articulates the need for coexistence between humans and biodiversity for the sake of future generations.

November 8, 2009 in Nature Nanotechnology - A team of researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) used the DNA origami techniques developed by Paul W. K. Rothemund to assemble carbon nanotubes into nanoscale electronic circuits. http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nnano.2009.311.html http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091110112440.htm http://nextbigfuture.com/2009/11/self-assembly-of-carbon-nanotubes-into.html http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=13470.php http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/vaop/ncurrent/extref/nnano.2009.311-s1.pdf 

November 2009 in Science News - "High-Tech Origami: Water Droplets Direct Self-Assembly Process in Thin-Film Materials". Ralph G. Nuzzo and researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a technique for fabricating three-dimensional, single-crystalline silicon structures from thin films by coupling photolithography and a self-folding process driven by capillary interactions. The process is described in a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

December 2009 -  John Bush from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. has modeled the process a hummingbird uses to sip nectar. When dipped into nectar, the tongue wraps into a cylindrical straw shape due to surface tension forces. Nectar rises quickly up the column via capillary action, a process referred to as "capillary origami". http://www.physorg.com/news179688348.html 

January 11, 2010 - Babak Ziaie and associates at Purdue University added a mixture of mineral oil and “magnetic nanoparticles” of iron oxide to ordinary paper to create a magnetic “ferropaper” that might be used to make low-cost “micromotors” for surgical instruments, tiny tweezers to study cells and miniature speakers. Once saturated with this “ferrofluid” mixture, the paper is coated with a biocompatible plastic film. The flexibility of the paper helps prevent  damage to cells or tissue, and the process is inexpensive. "The researchers also have experimented with other shapes and structures resembling Origami to study more complicated movements." http://www.lafayette-online.com/science-technology/2010/01/ferropaper/ 

Copyright © Janet Hamilton 2009

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