Video: Light creates instant origami

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Too lazy to learn origami? Now you can sit back and let heat do the work, thanks to a new technique developed by Michael Dickey and his team at North Carolina State University that uses a material that can fold up on its own.

The researchers used plastic sheets that shrink when placed under a heat source such as infrared light. Using an ordinary inkjet printer, they printed black ink along the lines to be folded. Since black absorbs more energy than paler colours, the lines first shrink more than the surrounding material and then fold when subjected to light. Increasing the width of the line increases the angle of the fold, making it possible to produce a range of shapes.

It’s not the first self-folding technique. Last year, researchers at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology used “shape memory” alloy foil and flexible silicon rubber to create a material that folds into a previously-held shape when heated. However, the new method should be more useful as it can be integrated with existing commercial printing techniques.
Jacob Aron –

Written by physicsgg

November 13, 2011 at 9:04 am

Posted in Materials Science, TECHNOLOGY

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