Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Featured artist: Robert Lang's computational origami

Robert Lang is a pioneer in the emerging field of computational origami, a branch of mathematics that explores the formal properties and potentialities of folded paper. Like the study of knots, pioneered in the late nineteenth century, computational origami and its practical offshoot origami sekkei or “technical folding” turn out to have a surprising range of applications to real world problems; from working out how to fold up stents so they can be threaded into arteries, to designing thin-film telescopes that are packed into the hold of a space shuttle. Lang is the inventor of the TreeMaker computer program, which allows him to design and calculate crease patterns for a wide range of origami models—including intricate insects, crustaceans, and amphibians. He has been one of the very few Western columnists for the Japan Origami Academic Society and is the author of eight books, including Origami Design Secrets: Mathematical Methods for an Ancient Art. Lang received a doctorate in physics from Caltech and spent twenty years as a laser physicist before becoming a fulltime paper folder (from the Institute for Figuring) Link (thanks, Josh)


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