How Scientists Adapted an Ancient Art Form to Create Nanoscopic Medical Tools

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Holly Greenberg was a 24-year-old postgraduate pupil successful the mechanical engineering laboratory astatine Brigham Young University (BYU) erstwhile she stumbled connected the thought that folded insubstantial cranes mightiness person immoderate relevance to her work.

Greenberg was funny successful compliant mechanisms – that is, objects whose question comes from bending, folding, and twisting. One of her champion friends was an origami prodigy who taught her immoderate basal techniques. “Some radical work a batch of papers for grad school. I folded a batch of paper,” Greenberg says.

Colorful T-rex and Venus flytrap figures, on with books of origami patterns, began to populate the laboratory’s shelves. And Greenberg, on with her professors, realized that the past creation of paper-folding mightiness use to different realms, including the plan of aesculapian instruments and devices.

It was a matrimony of creation and engineering, a 1,000-year-old signifier applied to cutting-edge technology. “Origami artists discovered caller ways of doing things that we ne'er would person stumbled connected utilizing the methods we’d been utilizing forever,” says Larry Howell, PhD, prof of mechanical engineering and subordinate world vice president astatine BYU.

By the clip Greenberg entered the laboratory successful 2010, scientists and engineers crossed the satellite were already utilizing origami principles – chiefly, the thought that thing ample could beryllium folded into a compact shape, past expanded again – successful the plan of automobile airbags and rocket shields.

Zhong You, PhD, present prof of engineering subject astatine the University of Oxford, had worked connected a collapsible bosom stent to dainty aortic aneurysms, which utilized origami principles to fold from a 30-mm diameter to a scant 7-9-mm for easiness of insertion, past deployed to its afloat size erstwhile wrong the aorta.

And Robert J. Lang, PhD, a physicist and world-renowned origami expert, had designed a pouch for aesculapian instruments, utilizing origami to fo...

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