Twenty years on, interest in Miura’s patterns is growing. In recreational human origami, intricate folds are carried out sequentially but nature can often assemble complex folds without any guiding hand. It is this self-assembling origami that now interests scientists.
Two papers in Science (8 August 2014) show how these ideas are developing. One from the Wyss Institute for Biologically inspired Engineering develops the concept of a self-assembling robot using heat-actuated self-folding hinges. In the other paper, a group from several US universities develops the Miura-ori pattern for the assembly of metamaterials that can be refolded into different patterns. Since metamaterials are tuned structures with novel optical properties, the prospect of adjustable configurations (retuning) is attractive. The science of bending materials has many twists still to come.