Origami (折り紙, from ori meaning "folding", and kami meaning "paper" (kami changes to gami due to rendaku)) is the art of paper folding, which is often associated with Japanese culture. In modern usage, the word "origami" is used as an inclusive term for all folding practices, regardless of their culture of origin. The goal is to transform a flat square sheet of paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques. Modern origami practitioners generally discourage the use of cuts, glue, or markings on the paper. Origami folders often use the Japanese word kirigami to refer to designs which use cuts, although cutting is more characteristic of Chinese papercrafts.[1]

The small number of basic origami folds can be combined in a variety of ways to make intricate designs. The best-known origami model is the Japanese paper crane. In general, these designs begin with a square sheet of paper whose sides may be of different colors, prints, or patterns. Traditional Japanese origami, which has been practiced since the Edo period (1603–1867), has often been less strict about these conventions, sometimes cutting the paper or using nonsquare shapes to start with. The principles of origami are also used in stents, packaging and other engineering applications.[2]

The folding of an Origami crane


Hiroshima senzaburu
A group of Japanese schoolchildren dedicate their contribution of Thousand origami cranes at the Sadako Sasaki memorial in Hiroshima.

Distinct paperfolding traditions arose in Europe, China, and Japan which have been well-documented by historians. These seem to have been mostly separate traditions, until the 20th century.

In China, traditional funerals often include the burning of folded paper, most often representations of gold nuggets (yuanbao). The practice of burning paper representations instead of full-scale wood or clay replicas dates from the Song Dynasty (905–1125 CE), though it's not clear how much folding was involved.[3]

In Japan, the earliest unambiguous reference to a paper model is in a short poem by Ihara Saikaku in 1680 which mentions a traditional butterfly design used during Shinto weddings.[4] Folding filled some ceremonial functions in Edo period Japanese culture; noshi were attached to gifts, much like greeting cards are used today. This developed into a form of entertainment; the first two instructional books published in Japan are clearly recreational.

In Europe, there was a well-developed genre of napkin folding, which flourished during the 17th and 18th centuries. After this period, this genre declined and was mostly forgotten; historian Joan Sallas attributes this to the introduction of porcelain, which replaced complex napkin folds as a dinner-table status symbol among nobility.[5] However, some of the techniques and bases associated with this tradition continued to be a part of European culture; folding was a significant part of Friedrich Froebel's "Kindergarten" method, and the designs published in connection with his curriculum are stylistically similar to the napkin fold repertoire.

When Japan opened its borders in the 1860s, as part of a modernization strategy, they imported Froebel's Kindergarten system—and with it, German ideas about paperfolding. This included the ban on cuts, and the starting shape of a bicolored square. These ideas, and some of the European folding repertoire, were integrated into the Japanese tradition. Before this, traditional Japanese sources use a variety of starting shapes, often had cuts; and if they had color or markings, these were added after the model was folded.[6]

In the early 1900s, Akira Yoshizawa, Kosho Uchiyama, and others began creating and recording original origami works. Akira Yoshizawa in particular was responsible for a number of innovations, such as wet-folding and the Yoshizawa–Randlett diagramming system, and his work inspired a renaissance of the art form.[7] During the 1980s a number of folders started systematically studying the mathematical properties of folded forms, which led to a rapid increase in the complexity of origami models.[8]

Techniques and materials


A list of nine basic Origami folds: the valley (or mountain), the pleat, the rabbit ear, the outside reverse, the inside reverse, the crimp, the squash, the sink and the petal

Many origami books begin with a description of basic origami techniques which are used to construct the models. This includes simple diagrams of basic folds like valley and mountain folds, pleats, reverse folds, squash folds, and sinks. There are also standard named bases which are used in a wide variety of models, for instance the bird base is an intermediate stage in the construction of the flapping bird.[9] Additional bases are the preliminary base (square base), fish base, waterbomb base, and the frog base.[10]

Origami paper

A crane and papers of the same size used to fold it

Almost any laminar (flat) material can be used for folding; the only requirement is that it should hold a crease.

Origami paper, often referred to as "kami" (Japanese for paper), is sold in prepackaged squares of various sizes ranging from 2.5 cm (1 in) to 25 cm (10 in) or more. It is commonly colored on one side and white on the other; however, dual coloured and patterned versions exist and can be used effectively for color-changed models. Origami paper weighs slightly less than copy paper, making it suitable for a wider range of models.

Normal copy paper with weights of 70–90 g/m2 (19–24 lb) can be used for simple folds, such as the crane and waterbomb. Heavier weight papers of 100 g/m2 (approx. 25 lb) or more can be wet-folded. This technique allows for a more rounded sculpting of the model, which becomes rigid and sturdy when it is dry.

Foil-backed paper, as its name implies, is a sheet of thin foil glued to a sheet of thin paper. Related to this is tissue foil, which is made by gluing a thin piece of tissue paper to kitchen aluminium foil. A second piece of tissue can be glued onto the reverse side to produce a tissue/foil/tissue sandwich. Foil-backed paper is available commercially, but not tissue foil; it must be handmade. Both types of foil materials are suitable for complex models.

Washi (和紙) is the traditional origami paper used in Japan. Washi is generally tougher than ordinary paper made from wood pulp, and is used in many traditional arts. Washi is commonly made using fibres from the bark of the gampi tree, the mitsumata shrub (Edgeworthia papyrifera), or the paper mulberry but can also be made using bamboo, hemp, rice, and wheat.

Artisan papers such as unryu, lokta, hanji, gampi, kozo, saa, and abaca have long fibers and are often extremely strong. As these papers are floppy to start with, they are often backcoated or resized with methylcellulose or wheat paste before folding. Also, these papers are extremely thin and compressible, allowing for thin, narrowed limbs as in the case of insect models.

Paper money from various countries is also popular to create origami with; this is known variously as Dollar Origami, Orikane, and Money Origami.


Bone folders

It is common to fold using a flat surface, but some folders like doing it in the air with no tools, especially when displaying the folding. Many folders believe that no tool should be used when folding. However a couple of tools can help especially with the more complex models. For instance a bone folder allows sharp creases to be made in the paper easily, paper clips can act as extra pairs of fingers, and tweezers can be used to make small folds. When making complex models from origami crease patterns, it can help to use a ruler and ballpoint embosser to score the creases. Completed models can be sprayed so they keep their shape better, and a spray is needed when wet folding.


Action origami

Origami not only covers still-life, there are also moving objects; Origami can move in clever ways. Action origami includes origami that flies, requires inflation to complete, or, when complete, uses the kinetic energy of a person's hands, applied at a certain region on the model, to move another flap or limb. Some argue that, strictly speaking, only the latter is really "recognized" as action origami. Action origami, first appearing with the traditional Japanese flapping bird, is quite common. One example is Robert Lang's instrumentalists; when the figures' heads are pulled away from their bodies, their hands will move, resembling the playing of music.

Modular origami

A stellated icosahedron made from custom papers

Modular origami consists of putting a number of identical pieces together to form a complete model. Normally the individual pieces are simple but the final assembly may be tricky. Many of the modular origami models are decorative folding balls like kusudama, the technique differs though in that kusudama allows the pieces to be put together using thread or glue.

Chinese paper folding includes a style called Golden Venture Folding where large numbers of pieces are put together to make elaborate models. It is most commonly known as "3D origami", however, that name did not appear until Joie Staff published a series of books titled "3D Origami", "More 3D Origami", and "More and More 3D Origami". Sometimes paper money is used for the modules. This style originated from some Chinese refugees while they were detained in America and is also called Golden Venture folding from the ship they came on.


Wet-folding is an origami technique for producing models with gentle curves rather than geometric straight folds and flat surfaces. The paper is dampened so it can be moulded easily, the final model keeps its shape when it dries. It can be used, for instance, to produce very natural looking animal models. Size, an adhesive that is crisp and hard when dry, but dissolves in water when wet and becoming soft and flexible, is often applied to the paper either at the pulp stage while the paper is being formed, or on the surface of a ready sheet of paper. The latter method is called external sizing and most commonly uses Methylcellulose, or MC, paste, or various plant starches.

Pureland origami

Pureland origami adds the restrictions that only simple mountain/valley folds may be used, and all folds must have straightforward locations. It was developed by John Smith in the 1970s to help inexperienced folders or those with limited motor skills. Some designers also like the challenge of creating within the very strict constraints.

Origami tessellations

Origami tessellation is a branch that has grown in popularity after 2000. A tessellation is a collection of figures filling a plane with no gaps or overlaps. In origami tessellations, pleats are used to connect molecules such as twist folds together in a repeating fashion. During the 1960s, Shuzo Fujimoto was the first to explore twist fold tessellations in any systematic way, coming up with dozens of patterns and establishing the genre in the origami mainstream. Around the same time period, Ron Resch patented some tessellation patterns as part of his explorations into kinetic sculpture and developable surfaces, although his work was not known by the origami community until the 1980s. Chris Palmer is an artist who has extensively explored tessellations after seeing the Zilij patterns in the Alhambra, and has found ways to create detailed origami tessellations out of silk. Robert Lang and Alex Bateman are two designers who use computer programs to create origami tessellations. The first international convention devoted to origami tessellations was hosted in Brasília (Brazil) in 2006,[11] and the first instruction book on tessellation folding patterns was published by Eric Gjerde in 2008.[12] Since then, the field has grown very quickly. Tessellation artists include Polly Verity (Scotland); Joel Cooper, Christine Edison, Ray Schamp and Goran Konjevod from the USA; Roberto Gretter (Italy); Christiane Bettens (Switzerland); Carlos Natan López (Mexico); and Jorge C. Lucero (Brazil).


Kirigami is a Japanese term for paper cutting. Cutting was often used in traditional Japanese origami, but modern innovations in technique have made the use of cuts unnecessary. Most origami designers no longer consider models with cuts to be origami, instead using the term Kirigami to describe them. This change in attitude occurred during the 1960s and 70s, so early origami books often use cuts, but for the most part they have disappeared from the modern origami repertoire; most modern books don't even mention cutting.[13]

Strip folding

Strip folding is a combination of paper folding and paper weaving.[14] A common example of strip folding is called the Lucky Star, also called Chinese lucky star, dream star, wishing star, or simply origami star. Another common fold is the Moravian Star which is made by strip folding in 3-dimensional design to include 16 spikes.[14]

Mathematics and technical origami

Mathematics and practical applications

Origami spring
Spring Into Action, designed by Jeff Beynon, made from a single rectangular piece of paper.[15]

The practice and study of origami encapsulates several subjects of mathematical interest. For instance, the problem of flat-foldability (whether a crease pattern can be folded into a 2-dimensional model) has been a topic of considerable mathematical study.

A number of technological advances have come from insights obtained through paper folding. For example, techniques have been developed for the deployment of car airbags and stent implants from a folded position.[16]

The problem of rigid origami ("if we replaced the paper with sheet metal and had hinges in place of the crease lines, could we still fold the model?") has great practical importance. For example, the Miura map fold is a rigid fold that has been used to deploy large solar panel arrays for space satellites.

Origami can be used to construct various geometrical designs not possible with compass and straightedge constructions. For instance paper folding may be used for angle trisection and doubling the cube.

Technical origami

Technical origami, known in Japanese as origami sekkei (折り紙設計), is an origami design approach in which the model is conceived as an engineered crease pattern, rather than developed through trial-and-error. With advances in origami mathematics, the basic structure of a new origami model can be theoretically plotted out on paper before any actual folding even occurs. This method of origami design was developed by Robert Lang, Meguro Toshiyuki and others, and allows for the creation of extremely complex multi-limbed models such as many-legged centipedes, human figures with a full complement of fingers and toes, and the like.

The crease pattern is a layout of the creases required to form the structure of the model. Paradoxically enough, when origami designers come up with a crease pattern for a new design, the majority of the smaller creases are relatively unimportant and added only towards the completion of the model. What is more important is the allocation of regions of the paper and how these are mapped to the structure of the object being designed. By opening up a folded model, you can observe the structures that comprise it; the study of these structures led to a number of crease-pattern-oriented design approaches

The pattern of allocations is referred to as the 'circle-packing' or 'polygon-packing'. Using optimization algorithms, a circle-packing figure can be computed for any uniaxial base of arbitrary complexity.[17] Once this figure is computed, the creases which are then used to obtain the base structure can be added. This is not a unique mathematical process, hence it is possible for two designs to have the same circle-packing, and yet different crease pattern structures.

As a circle encloses the maximum amount of area for a given perimeter, circle packing allows for maximum efficiency in terms of paper usage. However, other polygonal shapes can be used to solve the packing problem as well. The use of polygonal shapes other than circles is often motivated by the desire to find easily locatable creases (such as multiples of 22.5 degrees) and hence an easier folding sequence as well. One popular offshoot of the circle packing method is box-pleating, where squares are used instead of circles. As a result, the crease pattern that arises from this method contains only 45 and 90 degree angles, which often makes for a more direct folding sequence.

Origami-related computer programs

A number of computer aids to origami such as TreeMaker and Oripa, have been devised.[18] TreeMaker allows new origami bases to be designed for special purposes[19] and Oripa tries to calculate the folded shape from the crease pattern.[20]

Ethics and copyright

Copyright in origami designs and the use of models has become an increasingly important issue in the origami community, as the internet has made the sale and distribution of pirated designs very easy.[21] It is considered good etiquette to always credit the original artist and the folder when displaying origami models. It has been claimed that all commercial rights to designs and models are typically reserved by origami artists; however, the degree to which this can be enforced has been disputed. Under such a view, a person who folds a model using a legally obtained design could publicly display the model unless such rights were specifically reserved, whereas folding a design for money or commercial use of a photo for instance would require consent.[22] The Origami Authors and Creators group was set up to represent the copyright interests of origami artists and facilitate permissions requests.

However, a court in Japan has asserted that the folding method of an origami model "comprises an idea and not a creative expression, and thus is not protected under the copyright law".[23] Further, the court stated that "the method to folding origami is in the public domain; one cannot avoid using the same folding creases or the same arrows to show the direction in which to fold the paper". Therefore, it is legal to redraw the folding instructions of a model of another author even if the redrawn instructions share similarities to the original ones, as long as those similarities are "functional in nature". The redrawn instructions may be published (and even sold) without necessity of any permission from the original author. The Japanese decision is arguably in agreement with the U.S. Copyright Office, which asserts that "copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, systems, or methods of doing something."[24]


These pictures show examples of various types of origami.

Origami (made from an American 1-dollar bill) of an elephant

Dollar bill elephant, an example of moneygami

Kawasaki new rose

Kawasaki rose using the twist fold devised by Toshikazu Kawasaki. The calyx is made separately.

Kawasaki cube 1

Kawasaki cube, an example of an iso-area model

Wet-folding bull

A wet-folded bull


A challenging miniature version of a paper crane

Image-2D and 3D modulor Origami

Two examples of modular origami

Bonsai rosu 1

An example of origami bonsai

Smart waterbomb.jpeg

Smart Waterbomb using circular paper and curved folds

Servilletas sevillanas

Flamenco dancers made using a wet fold and twisting/tying technique

In popular culture

  • In House of Cards season 1, episode 6, Claire Underwood gives a homeless man cash, and he later returns it folded into the shape of a bird.[25] Claire then begins making origami animals, and in episode 7 she gives several to Peter Russo for his children.[26]
  • In Blade Runner, Gaff folds origami throughout the movie, and an origami unicorn he folds forms a major plot point.[27]
  • The philosophy and plot of the science fiction story "Ghostweight" by Yoon Ha Lee revolve around origami. In it, origami serves as a metaphor for history: "It is not true that the dead cannot be folded. Square becomes kite becomes swan; history becomes rumor becomes song. Even the act of remembrance creases the truth".[28] A major element of the plot is the weaponry called jerengjen of space mercenaries, which unfold from flat shapes: "In the streets, jerengjen unfolded prettily, expanding into artillery with dragon-shaped shadows and sleek four-legged assault robots with wolf-shaped shadows. In the skies, jerengjen unfolded into bombers with kestrel-shaped shadows." The story says that the word means the art of paper folding in the mercenaries' main language. In an interview, when asked about the subject, the author tells that he became fascinated with dimensions since reading the novel Flatland.[29]
  • The 2010 video game Heavy Rain has an antagonist known as the origami killer.
  • In the BBC television program QI it is revealed that origami in the form it is commonly known, where paper is folded without being cut or glued likely originated in Germany and was imported to Japan as late as 1860 when Japan opened its borders (although less specific Japanese paper-craft did exist in prior to this).[30]

See also


  1. ^ UNESCO - Intangible Heritage Section. "UNESCO Culture Sector - Intangible Heritage - 2003 Convention :".
  2. ^ Merali, Zeeya (June 17, 2011), "'Origami Engineer' Flexes to Create Stronger, More Agile Materials", Science, 332 (6036): 1376–1377, doi:10.1126/science.332.6036.1376, PMID 21680824.
  3. ^ Laing, Ellen Johnston (2004). Up In Flames. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-3455-4.
  4. ^ Hatori Koshiro. "History of Origami". K's Origami. Retrieved January 1, 2010.
  5. ^ Joan Sallas. "Gefaltete Schönheit." 2010.
  6. ^ "History of Origami in the East and West before Interfusion", by Koshiro Hatori. From Origami^5, ed. Patsy Wang Iverson et al. CRC Press 2011.
  7. ^ Margalit Fox (April 2, 2005). "Akira Yoshizawa, 94, Modern Origami Master". New York Times.
  8. ^ Lang, Robert J. "Origami Design Secrets" Dover Publications, 2003.
  9. ^ Rick Beech (2009). The Practical Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Origami. Lorenz Books. ISBN 978-0-7548-1982-0.
  10. ^ Jeremy Shafer (2001). Origami to Astonish and Amuse. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-25404-0.
  11. ^ Bettens, Christiane. "First origami tessellation convention". Flickr. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  12. ^ Gjerde, Eric (2008). Origami Tessellations. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9781568814513.
  13. ^ Lang, Robert J. (2003). Origami Design Secrets. A K Peters. ISBN 1-56881-194-2.
  14. ^ a b "Strip folding". Origami Resource Center. 2018. Retrieved 2018-02-19.
  15. ^ The World of Geometric Toy, Origami Spring, August, 2007.
  16. ^ Cheong Chew and Hiromasa Suziki, Geometrical Properties of Paper Spring, reported in Mamoru Mitsuishi, Kanji Ueda, Fumihiko Kimura, Manufacturing Systems and Technologies for the New Frontier (2008), p. 159.
  17. ^ "TreeMaker".
  18. ^ Patsy Wang-Iverson; Robert James Lang; Mark Yim, eds. (2010). Origami 5: Fifth International Meeting of Origami Science, Mathematics, and Education. CRC Press. pp. 335–370. ISBN 978-1-56881-714-9.
  19. ^ Lang, Robert. "TreeMaker". Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  20. ^ Mitani, Jun. "ORIPA: Origami Pattern Editor". Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  21. ^ Robinson, Nick (2008). Origami Kit for Dummies. Wiley. pp. 36–38. ISBN 978-0-470-75857-1.
  22. ^ "Origami Copyright Analysis+FAQ" (PDF). OrigamiUSA. 2008. p. 9.
  23. ^ "Japanese Origami Artist Loses Copyright Battle With Japanese Television Station". Keissen Associates. Retrieved 3 Sep 2015.
  24. ^ "What Does Copyright Protect?". Copyright.gov. United States Copyright Office. Retrieved 4 Sep 2015.
  25. ^ "House of Cards: Chapter 6". AV Club.
  26. ^ "House of Cards: Chapter 7". AV Club.
  27. ^ Greenwald, Ted. "Q&A: Ridley Scott Has Finally Created the Blade Runner He Always Imagined". Wired. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  28. ^ Molly Brown, "King Arthur and the Knights of the Postmodern Fable"; in: The Middle Ages in Popular Culture: Medievalism and Genre – Student Edition, 2015, p. 163
  29. ^ "Interview: Yoon Ha Lee, Author of Conservation of Shadows, on Writing and Her Attraction to Space Opera"". SF Signal. 30 May 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  30. ^ Guide, British Comedy. "QI Series O, Episode 10 - Origins And Openings". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 13 January 2019. The art of folding paper into shapes without cutting it comes from Germany. Origami uses white paper, which can be folded and cut. German kindergartens use paper that is uncut and is coloured on one side, and this came into Japan when the country opened its borders in 1860. Thus what we generally consider origami today in fact has German roots.

Further reading

  • Kunihiko Kasahara (1988). Origami Omnibus: Paper Folding for Everybody. Tokyo: Japan Publications, Inc. ISBN 4-8170-9001-4
    A book for a more advanced origamian; this book presents many more complicated ideas and theories, as well as related topics in geometry and culture, along with model diagrams.
  • Kunihiko Kasahara and Toshie Takahama (1987). Origami for the Connoisseur. Tokyo: Japan Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-87040-670-1
  • Satoshi Kamiya (2005). Works by Satoshi Kamiya, 1995–2003. Tokyo: Origami House
    An extremely complex book for the elite origamian, most models take 100+ steps to complete. Includes his famous Divine Dragon Bahamut and Ancient Dragons. Instructions are in Japanese and English.
  • Kunihiko Kasahara (2001). Extreme Origami. ISBN 0-8069-8853-3
  • Michael LaFosse. Masterworks of Paper Folding
  • Nick Robinson (2004). Encyclopedia of Origami. Quarto. ISBN 1-84448-025-9. A book full of stimulating designs.

External links

Erik Demaine

Erik D. Demaine (born 28 February 1981) is a professor of Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a former child prodigy.

Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain is an interactive drama and action-adventure game developed by Quantic Dream and published by Sony Computer Entertainment as a PlayStation 3 exclusive in February 2010. The game features four protagonists involved with the mystery of the Origami Killer, a serial murderer who uses extended periods of rainfall to drown his victims. The player interacts with the game by performing actions highlighted on screen related to motions on the controller, and in some cases, performing a series of quick time events. The player's decisions and actions during the game affect the narrative; the main characters can be killed, and certain actions may lead to alternative scenes and endings.

Game developer David Cage wrote the 2,000-page script, acted as director for the four years of development, travelled to Philadelphia to research the setting, and intended to improve upon what was flawed in his 2005 game Fahrenheit. Composer Normand Corbeil wrote the score, which was recorded at Abbey Road Studios. Heavy Rain was a critical and commercial success, winning three BAFTA awards and selling over five million copies. The game received praise for its emotional impact, visuals, writing, controls, voice acting, and music; critics conversely faulted the controls, voice acting, and plot inconsistencies. A PlayStation 4 version was released as a standalone title and in the Quantic Dream Collection with Beyond: Two Souls in 2016.

History of origami

The history of origami followed after the invention of paper and was a result of paper's use in society. Independent paper folding traditions exist in East Asia, and it is unclear whether they evolved separately or had a common source.


Kirigami (切り紙) is a variation of origami that includes cutting of the paper, rather than solely folding the paper as is the case with origami, but typically does not use glue.

In the United States, the term "Kirigami" was coined by Florence Temko, from Japanese kiri "cut," kami "paper", in the title of her book, Kirigami, the Creative Art of Papercutting, 1962. The book was so successful that the word kirigami was accepted as the western name for the art of paper cutting.Typically, kirigami starts with a folded base, which is then unfolded; cuts are then opened and flattened to make the finished kirigami. Simple Kirigami are usually symmetrical, such as snowflakes, pentagrams, or orchid blossoms. A difference between Kirigami and the art of "full base", or 180 degree opening structures, is that Kirigami is made out of a single piece of paper that has then been cut.

Kōshō Uchiyama

Kosho Uchiyama (内山 興正, Uchiyama Kōshō, 1912 – March 13, 1998) was a Sōtō priest, origami master, and abbot of Antai-ji near Kyoto, Japan.

Uchiyama was author of more than twenty books on Zen Buddhism and origami, of which Opening the Hand of Thought: Foundations of Zen Buddhist Practice is best known.

Martin Demaine

Martin L. (Marty) Demaine (born 1942) is an artist and mathematician, the Angelika and Barton Weller artist in residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Demaine attended Medford High School in Medford, Massachusetts. After studying glassblowing in England, he began his artistic career by blowing art glass in New Brunswick in the early 1970s. The Demaine Studio, located in Miramichi Bay and later at Opus Village in Mactaquac, was the first one-man glass studio in Canada, part of the international studio glass movement. Demaine's pieces from this period are represented in the permanent collections of half a dozen major museums including the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the National Gallery of Canada. Since joining MIT, Demaine has begun blowing glass again, as an instructor at the MIT Glass Lab; his newer work features innovative glassblowing techniques intended as a puzzle to his fellow glassblowers.Martin Demaine is the father of MIT Computer Science professor and MacArthur Fellow Erik Demaine; in 1987 (when Erik was six) they together founded the Erik and Dad Puzzle Company which distributed puzzles throughout Canada. Erik was home-schooled by Martin, and although Martin never received any higher degree than his high school diploma, his home-schooling caused Erik to be awarded a B.S. at age 14 and a Ph.D. and MIT professorship at age 20, making him the youngest professor ever hired by MIT.

The two Demaines continue to work closely together and have many joint works of both mathematics and art, including three pieces of mathematical origami in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; their joint mathematical works focus primarily on the mathematics of folding and unfolding objects out of flat materials such as paper and on the computational complexity of games and puzzles. Martin and Erik are also featured in the movie Between the Folds, a documentary on modern origami.

Demaine is a citizen of both Canada and the United States.

Mathematics of paper folding

The art of origami or paper folding has received a considerable amount of mathematical study. Fields of interest include a given paper model's flat-foldability (whether the model can be flattened without damaging it) and the use of paper folds to solve mathematical equations.

Modular origami

Modular origami or unit origami is a paperfolding technique which uses two or more sheets of paper to create a larger and more complex structure than would be possible using single-piece origami techniques. Each individual sheet of paper is folded into a module, or unit, and then modules are assembled into an integrated flat shape or three-dimensional structure by inserting flaps into pockets created by the folding process. These insertions create tension or friction that holds the model together.

One thousand origami cranes

One Thousand Origami Cranes (千羽鶴, Senbazuru) is a group of one thousand origami paper cranes (折鶴, orizuru) held together by strings. An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by the gods. Some stories believe you are granted happiness and eternal good luck, instead of just one wish, such as long life or recovery from illness or injury. This makes them popular gifts for special friends and family. The crane in Japan is one of the mystical or holy creatures (others include the dragon and the tortoise) and is said to live for a thousand years: That is why 1000 cranes are made, one for each year. In some stories it is believed that the 1000 cranes must be completed within one year and they must all be made by the person who is to make the wish at the end.

Origami paper

Origami paper is used to fold origami, the art of paper folding. The only real requirement of the folding medium is that it must be able to hold a crease, but should ideally also be thinner than regular paper for convenience when multiple folds over the same small paper area are required (e.g. such as would be the case if creating an origami bird's "legs", "feet", and "beak").

Paper fortune teller

A fortune teller (also called a cootie catcher, chatterbox, salt cellar, whirlybird, or paku-paku) is a form of origami used in children's games. Parts of the fortune teller are labelled with colors or numbers that serve as options for a player to choose from, and on the inside are eight flaps, each concealing a message. The person operating the fortune teller manipulates the device based on the choices made by the player, and finally one of the hidden messages is revealed. These messages may purport to answer questions (hence the name) or they may be activities that the player must perform.

The same shape may also be used as pincers or as a salt cellar.

Paper plane

A paper plane, paper aeroplane (UK), paper airplane (US), paper glider, paper dart or dart is a toy aircraft, usually a glider made out of folded paper or paperboard.

Robert Harbin

Robert Harbin (born Ned Williams; 14 February 1908 – 12 January 1978) was a British magician and author. He is noted as the inventor of a number of classic illusions, including the Zig Zag Girl. He also became an authority on origami.

Sadako Sasaki

Sadako Sasaki (佐々木 禎子, Sasaki Sadako, January 7, 1943 – October 25, 1955) was a Japanese girl who was 2 years old when an American atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, near her home next to the Misasa Bridge. Sasaki became one of the most widely known hibakusha – a Japanese term meaning "bomb-affected person". She is remembered through the story of the one thousand origami cranes she folded before her death, and is to this day a symbol of the innocent victims of nuclear warfare.

Shide (Shinto)

Shide (紙垂, 四手) is a zigzag-shaped paper streamer, often seen attached to shimenawa or tamagushi, and used in Shinto rituals. A popular ritual is using a haraegushi, or "lightning wand", named for the zig-zag shide paper that adorns the wand. A similar wand, used by miko for purification and blessing, is the gohei with two shide. A Shinto priest waves the haraegushi over a person, item, or newly bought property, such as a building or car. The wand is waved at a slow rhythmic pace, but with a little force so that the shide strips make a rustling noise on each pass of the wand. For new properties, a similar ritual known as jijin sai is performed with a haraegushi, an enclosed part of the land (enclosed by shimenawa), and sake, or ritually purified sake known as o-miki. The haraegushi has been used for centuries in Shinto ceremonies and has similarities in Ainu culture. In Ainu culture, a shaved willow branch called an inaw or inau closely resembles the Shinto haraegushi, and is used in similar blessing rituals.

Sonic Origami

Sonic Origami is the 20th studio album by British rock band Uriah Heep and was released in September 1998.

The opening track, "Between Two Worlds", is dedicated to David Byron and Gary Thain, both members of Uriah Heep who died at a young age. It is the final Uriah Heep album to date to feature long-standing drummer Lee Kerslake, due to ill health forcing his departure from the band in 2007.

The limited edition version of the CD contains one additional track.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is a children's novel written by Tom Angleberger that was first published on March 1, 2010, by Amulet Books. It follows the story of a young boy named Tommy who is trying to figure out if Dwight's Origami Yoda is actually real or it's a hoax that Dwight created. It became the first in a series of popular Star Wars themed novels penned by Angleberger, which includes Darth Paper Strikes Back!, The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee, The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett, Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue, and Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus as well as an activity book titled ART2-D2's Guide to Folding and Doodling.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda was nominated for the Illinois State 2013 Rebecca Caudil Award.

Ultra-mobile PC

An ultra-mobile PC (ultra-mobile personal computer or UMPC) is a miniature version of a pen computer, a class of laptop whose specifications were launched by Microsoft and Intel in spring 2006. Sony had already made a first attempt in this direction in 2004 with its Vaio U series, which was however only sold in Asia. UMPCs are generally smaller than subnotebooks, have a TFT display measuring (diagonally) about 12.7 to 17.8 cm (5 to 7 inch screen), are operated like tablet PCs using a touchscreen or a stylus, and can also have a physical keyboard. There is no clear boundary between subnotebooks and ultra-mobile PCs.

The first-generation UMPCs were simple PCs running Linux or an adapted version of Microsoft's tablet PC operating system. With the announcement of the UMPC, Microsoft dropped the licensing requirement that tablet PCs must support proximity sensing of the stylus, which Microsoft termed "hovering".

Second-generation UMPCs used less electricity and therefore could be used for longer (up to five hours) and also had support for Windows Vista.

Originally code-named Project Origami, the project was launched in 2006 as a collaboration between Microsoft, Intel, Samsung, and a few others. After largely being supplanted by tablet computers, production of ultra-mobile PCs were discontinued in the early 2010s.


Washi (和紙) is traditional Japanese paper. The word "washi" comes from wa meaning 'Japanese' and shi meaning 'paper'. The term is used to describe paper that uses local fiber, processed by hand and made in the traditional manner. Washi is made using fibers from the inner bark of the gampi tree, the mitsumata shrub (Edgeworthia chrysantha), or the paper mulberry (kōzo) bush. As a Japanese craft it registered as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage.Washi is generally tougher than ordinary paper made from wood pulp, and is used in many traditional arts. Origami, Shodo, and Ukiyo-e were all produced using washi. Washi was also used to make various everyday goods like clothes, household goods, and toys as well as vestments and ritual objects for Shinto priests and statues of Buddha. It was even used to make wreaths that were given to winners in the 1998 Winter Paralympics. Several kinds of washi, referred to collectively as Japanese tissue, are used in the conservation and mending of books.

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