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Origami reshapes structural engineering

An artist's rendering of a foldable roof (Courtesy of the University of Tokyo)

TOKYO -- Scientists are bringing out the practical side of origami. Inspired by the Japanese art of paper-folding, they have discovered structures that are extremely difficult to deform. Besides the obvious potential applications in architecture, these shapes could find their way into robotics and equipment for use in space.

     Researchers at the University of Tokyo, the University of Illinois and the Georgia Institute of Technology have hit upon designs that, when extended, are significantly more rigid than conventional structures. The U.S. National Science Foundation is supporting research toward industrial uses.

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