Find the Traditional Origami Patterns in Modern Technology!

  • Origami has been assimilated in the Oxford dictionary since time immemorial, and it has also become a global buzzword. It is defined as the Japanese art of folding papers into various shapes and sizes. However, the elegance of origami goes further that being a mere ornament for the Tanabata Festival.

    Today, many modern structural designs and innovative engineering approaches were actually patterned based on this long tradition of Japanese art. In fact, here are two of the coolest origami patterns which have inspired various scientific applications that we never imagined to be possible.

    Honeycomb Cores

    It is believed that the Chinese first began to make paper honeycombs 2000 years ago and eventually brought the technique to Japan. Today, colorful paper honeycombs are a common sight during the period of the Tanabata Festival, and they have inspired engineers in Europe after World War II to further develop this shape for use in aerospace and industrial applications.

    The hexagonal shape of honeycombs is designed to provide a strong structural support for objects that are subject to high tension and shear stress. Some of the best examples are the floors of the Shinkansen bullet trains and the walls of rockets, which contain honeycomb panels to dampen sonic vibrations. Honeycomb cores are also widely used in our everyday life as packaging materials. Click here for a tutorial video if you want to learn how to make paper honeycombs.

    Origami Cylinders

    The diamond pattern used in making foldable cylinders is known as the ‘Yoshimura Pattern’. This pattern was first published by Professor Yoshimaru Yoshimura in 1951, during his research on the buckling that occurs when an airplane’s fuselage breaks apart. Aside from being widely used in the field of aeronautics and aerospace research, the most successful application of this origami pattern can be seen in plastic bottles and canned beverages.

    For those who wonder why emptied plastic bottles and canned beverages collapse easily when too much pressure is applied, the answer lies with the Yoshimura Pattern. This diamond pattern is also evident in the folding of automobile airbags. Click here for a tutorial video if you want to know more about how to make an origami cylinder using the Yoshimura Pattern.

    Now that you know some of the coolest origami applications in science, how would you like to immerse yourself in an origami experience when you visit Japan? You can click here to book an affordable origami lesson in Tokyo!

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