Via Dr. Robert Lang to the O-List:
In the 21st century, origami has caught the attention of engineers who are using it to create all sorts of new structures--from collapsible packaging to airbags for cars. Origami has even found its way into space!
With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), mechanical engineer Larry Howell and a team of researchers from Brigham Young University collaborated with NASA to design a solar array that can be tightly compacted for launch and then deployed in space to generate power for space stations or satellites.
The collaboration began when Howell received an NSF grant to explore combining origami with his focus on compliant mechanisms, which are typically single-piece structures that are jointless and flexible.
Read the article at the National Science Foundation.