How Origami Is Innovating Technology

Origami dates back to the 17th century in Japan, but it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that people began to consider the practice an art form due, in large part, to origami master Akira Yoshizawa. Since then, origami has gone on to become a respected art and now a tool to revolutionize science and technology. For example, the patterns and folds in origami, when applied to numbers, have resulted in innovative creations. For instance, the Miura-ori pattern was used as collapsible solar panels for Japan’s Space Flyer Unit in 1995. In the world of biomedicine, origami has inspired a robot, developed by Daniela Rus and her team, that can fold into a pill capsule and when ingested, unfold and be directed around the body. Elsewhere, origami has informed the protection of face masks, the mobility of gears and the understanding of cells. Learn more about how the historic art form continues to inspire at National Geographic.

Image courtesy of NASA/Dorde Masovic