Origami goes high-tech for potential military applications

  • Magazine Feature Article
  • 16OFHP04_07
Published April 01, 2016 by SAE International in United States
  • English

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Tokyo have taken a keen interest in origami, which they believe may soon provide a foundation for antennas that can reconfigure themselves to operate at different frequencies, microfluidic devices whose properties can change in operation, and possibly heating and air-conditioning ductwork that could adjust to demand.

Those application examples could result from reconfigurable and reprogrammable origami tubes developed by the researchers. By changing the ways in which the paper is folded, the same tube can have six or more different cross sections. Though models are currently reconfigured by hand, magnetic or electrical actuators could make the changes when the tubes are used in real-world applications.