Saturday, May 10, 2014

UBC researcher creates self-folding paper product

Hat tip to Joseph Wu:
Ata Sina, a master’s student in mechanical engineering, combines the art of making Japanese origami with science to make multi-dimensional figures using paper and heat — which he later hopes to turn into commercial ventures.
To make the items, he takes sheets of paper and uses a computer program to make small cuts and creases in them. He then attaches special thermoplastic polymers onto the paper and sticks it in an oven at 110 degrees C for 10 to 20 seconds.
“When the heat hits the polymers they start shrinking and the paper starts folding into a 3D structure we have designed,” he said.
“We use software to simulate the folding. Then we kind of calculate the angles we need.”
Within seconds, the paper transforms into 3D objects. It could change into a fun toy for your kid, ornaments for your Christmas tree or something that can be used to help package fragile objects in a box to replace those Styrofoam noodles.
Although Sina will begin by making a children’s book, with fun pages kids can tear out and heat up to make shapes, he hopes to one day make packaging for commercial use and insulation for construction companies.
The Vancouver Sun asked Sina to identify five practical future uses for his product.
Here’s what he came up with:
Read the rest

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