Thursday, October 15, 2009

Crazy origami

I went through a brief origami phase in middle school, and I knew that some people do crazy complex origami.  But check this guy out: Robert J. Lang is a master  His profile for Reflections/Projections 2009 lists him as a "pioneer in computational origami."

Computational origami!  With engineering applications!  I guess I had heard that origami principles are used to ensure parachutes open quickly and safely.  And the Mythbusters used origami to make a lead balloon, which I have to admit was totally sweet.  That ComputerWorld article up there srom 2004 says that Robert Lang wants to use computational origami to understand protein folding, but I wonder why he thinks it will require more than a petaflop of data processing power?  That article is from 2004, so I wonder if he's had the chance to use a research supercomputer yet?

I had no idea there were origami controversies, competing schools, and assorted other politics. I suppose it makes sense, though- get any group of dedicated individuals together and they'll find something to fight about.  To be dedicated you have to get your emotions involved, and once emotions are involved, there are points of pride... and once you've got both emotions and pride on the line, vociferous disagreements will always arise.  Maybe this is overly cynical- overall the origami community seems pretty civilized.  We're unlikely to have riots or lynch mobs like you get with football.

Okay, seriously, check out this koi.  That is one uncut square, with all those scales!

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