Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Origami solves road map riddle

19.02.2002


Computer model unfolds the map muddle.
© Getty Images


Match up folds to fight stubborn paper.

No road journey is complete without a wrestle with the map. Now a US computer scientist has worked out why the map usually wins.

Erik Demaine of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge has come up with an origami algorithm that predicts when a stubborn street plan will be re-foldable. "It’s the meeting of paper folding and computer science," he says.



The rules governing whether a sheet of paper divided into a grid of folds can be pleated back into a packet will confirm many motorists’ hunches.

Aligning mountain folds, protruding out of the sheet, and valley folds, poking inwards, is the key, Demaine told the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston. "If they match up it’s guaranteed to work," he said. "If they don’t, you’re toast."

Crumpling the map into the glove box won’t help. A single 45° fold in the sheet, and the problem foxes even a computer, Demaine found. The models are probably little help to the harassed motorist, he admits.

Paper does not always follow predictions, warns mathematician Martin Kruskal of Rutgers University in New Jersey. Unlike a computer model, real paper has thickness - an A4 sheet is nearly impossible to fold in half more than six times. "Idealization has limitations," he says.

Computational origami is attacking other seemingly intractable paper-folding challenges. The gift-wrapping problem - the smallest square of paper that can cover a regular object - challenges many at Christmas. Comfortingly, it has only been solved for wrapping a simple cube.

Such algorithms can also predict whether a three-dimensional object can be unfolded into a flat sheet. The sheet-metal industry uses the program in reverse to build furniture or cars from a single sheet. Computational origami also creates new designs for the Japanese art.

HELEN PEARSON | © Nature News Service

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny microbots that can clean up water

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute Stuttgart have developed self-propelled tiny ‘microbots’ that can remove lead or organic pollution from contaminated water.

Working with colleagues in Barcelona and Singapore, Samuel Sánchez’s group used graphene oxide to make their microscale motors, which are able to adsorb lead...

Im Focus: ORNL researchers discover new state of water molecule

Neutron scattering and computational modeling have revealed unique and unexpected behavior of water molecules under extreme confinement that is unmatched by any known gas, liquid or solid states.

In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory describe a new tunneling state of...

Im Focus: Bionic Lightweight Design researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute at Hannover Messe 2016

Honeycomb structures as the basic building block for industrial applications presented using holo pyramid

Researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) will introduce their latest developments in the field of bionic lightweight design at Hannover Messe from 25...

Im Focus: New world record for fullerene-free polymer solar cells

Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). This work is about avoiding costly and unstable fullerenes.

Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin glass is up and coming

As one of the leading R&D partners in the development of surface technologies and organic electronics, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP will be exhibiting its recent achievements in vacuum coating of ultra-thin glass at SVC TechCon 2016 (Booth 846), taking place in Indianapolis / USA from May 9 – 13.

Fraunhofer FEP is an experienced partner for technological developments, known for testing the limits of new materials and for optimization of those materials...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

The “AC21 International Forum 2016” is About to Begin

27.04.2016 | Event News

Soft switching combines efficiency and improved electro-magnetic compatibility

15.04.2016 | Event News

Grid-Supportive Buildings Give Boost to Renewable Energy Integration

12.04.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Winds a quarter the speed of light spotted leaving mysterious binary systems

29.04.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Fiber optic biosensor-integrated microfluidic chip to detect glucose levels

29.04.2016 | Health and Medicine

A cell senses its own curves: New research from the MBL Whitman Center

29.04.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>