Bioinspired spring origami

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Abstract

Origami enables folding of objects into a variety of shapes in arts, engineering, and biological systems. In contrast to well-known paper-folded objects, the wing of the earwig has an exquisite natural folding system that cannot be sufficiently described by current origami models. Such an unusual biological system displays incompatible folding patterns, remains open by a bistable locking mechanism during flight, and self-folds rapidly without muscular actuation. We show that these notable functionalities arise from the protein-rich joints of the earwig wing, which work as extensional and rotational springs between facets. Inspired by this biological wing, we establish a spring origami model that broadens the folding design space of traditional origami and allows for the fabrication of precisely tunable, four-dimensional-printed objects with programmable bioinspired morphing functionalities.

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