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Shape-shifting sheets

National Science Foundation-funded engineers have developed a mathematical framework that can turn any sheet of material into any prescribed shape, inspired by the paper craft kirigami (from the Japanese, kiri, meaning to cut and kami, meaning paper). Unlike its better-known cousin origami, which uses folds to shape paper, kirigami relies on a pattern of cuts in a flat paper sheet to change its flexibility and allow it to morph into 3D shapes. Artists have long used this artform to create everything from pop-up cards to castles and dragons. This research follows previous work by the researchers that characterized how origami-based patterns could be used as building blocks to create almost any three-dimensional curved shape. Next the researchers aim to explore how to combine cuts and folds to achieve any shape with a given set of properties, thus linking origami and kirigami.

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