Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers Erik Demaine and Jason Ku have developed an algorithm to fulfil the infinite probabilities of folding a 2D sheet of paper into a 3D shape.
The algorithm is the result of 20 years of work. By applying this theory to sheets of other materials, e.g. PLA, ABS and Nylon, the algorithm may have potential to enhance the possibilities of 3D printed objects, including self-assembling 4D printing.
Also in this article looking at the design of 3D structures we report on new research from the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) into self-folding 3D structures. The work focuses on overcoming challenges to the surface smoothness of self-actuating objects.
In computer aided design (CAD) all 3D objects are made out of a mesh of multiple polygons. At its most basic level, Demaine and Ku’s algorithm takes these polygons and applies them to a 2D sheet of material. In addition, it accounts for the seams between polygons when folded, ensuring that they are hidden and don’t obstruct the geometry of the overall shape.
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