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CM­ Researchers Create Self-Folding Origami, Try for Pasta That Shapes as it Cooks

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A flat cut-out generated by a three-dimensional printer (left), and the same item after being dipped in hot water.

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have created origami that folds itself.

Credit: Carnegie Mellon University

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's (CMU's) Human-Computer Interaction Institute have created origami that folds itself, in a project presented at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Montreal this week.

The team believes the work could enable flat pasta that takes shape when cooked, flat satellites that unfold in space, and furniture that assembles itself inside homes.

The lab created the self-folding shapes using a three-dimensional (3D) printer; researchers noticed a problem with edges and surfaces warping, "but we've taken this disadvantage and turned it to our advantage," says CMU researcher Lining Yao. The researchers control the printer's speed and use some materials found to warp and others that do not; when the printed objects are placed in hot water, some of the material warps and some does not, creating a 3D shape.

From Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
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