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The Modern Science of Origami: From Flapping Birds to Space Telescopes

Robert J. Lang
Author, Artist, and Editor-in-Chief
IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics

The last decade of this past century has been witness to a revolution in the development of mathematical techniques to origami, the centuries-old Japanese art of paper-folding. Geometric concepts have led to the solution of a broad class of origami folding problems – specifically, the problem of efficiently folding a shape with an arbitrary number and arrangement of flaps. This has enabled origami designs of mind-blowing complexity and realism, some of which you'll see. As often happens, theory developed for its own sake has led to some surprising practical applications. The algorithms and theorems of origami design have shed light on long-standing mathematical questions and have solved practical engineering problems, e.g. safer airbags, Brobdingnagian space telescopes, and more.

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Created October 26, 2009, Updated January 3, 2017