How origami is invigorating engineering

The Atlantic magazine’s City Lab recently reported on a collaboration between researchers at Georgia Tech, the University of Illinois and the University of Tokyo who developed a structural support feature called ‘zipper tubes’ which is inspired by origami. The structure is surprisingly stiff but also easy, like origami, to manipulate. Graduate engineering student at the University of Illinois, Evgueni Filipov, explains that the fact the zippered tube can be packed efficiently means, it “could have applications on a large scale for civil engineering, where you have structures that you pre-assembled on a site, loaded on to a truck, and shipped to a specific location.”

Origami engineering is having its moment in the sun, with the University of Notre Dame’s project for military shelters,

the Plate House shelter by Joe Gattas, then an Oxford D Phil Student,

and Brigham Young University's award-winning visualization from their engineering department of looking at origami as a stimulus.

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