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Bioinspired spring origami

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Science  23 Mar 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6382, pp. 1386-1391
DOI: 10.1126/science.aap7753

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More than just simple folding

Origami involves folding two-dimensional sheets into complex three-dimensional objects. However, some shapes cannot be created using standard folds. Faber et al. studied the wing of an earwig, which can fold in ways not possible using origami and can alter its shape for flight. The authors replicated this ability by using a membrane that allows for deformations and variable stiffness. Prestretching generated energetically bistable origami patterns that exhibited passive self-folding behavior.

Science, this issue p. 1386

Abstract

Origami enables folding of objects into a variety of shapes in arts, engineering, and biological systems. In contrast to well-known paper-folded objects, the wing of the earwig has an exquisite natural folding system that cannot be sufficiently described by current origami models. Such an unusual biological system displays incompatible folding patterns, remains open by a bistable locking mechanism during flight, and self-folds rapidly without muscular actuation. We show that these notable functionalities arise from the protein-rich joints of the earwig wing, which work as extensional and rotational springs between facets. Inspired by this biological wing, we establish a spring origami model that broadens the folding design space of traditional origami and allows for the fabrication of precisely tunable, four-dimensional–printed objects with programmable bioinspired morphing functionalities.

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