Origami In Space

Origami In Space


I’m with tef, who is going to tell you something you might not know about origami. Tef, take it away. I’d like to tell you about a piece of origami, that’s in space. Now, space satellites, they have solar panels and solar panels need to unfold. You might imagine a piece of paper slowly unfolding. Unfortunately, to unfold most solar panels, you need two motors. One to pull it this way, and one to pull it up this way. But, Japanese astrophysicists realised that you could probably do it with one motor instead, and what he came up with was this. He could take a solar panel and unfold it with one motor all the way out. Not only that, he can also fold it all the way back in. How this actually works is, you fold the piece of paper into fifths, like so, admittedly I am making it look easy, and then what you do, is you fold it over repeatedly, almost making a snake all the way up such that there’s a a little bit of an angle all the way up. But what this means is that this piece of paper can fold down far more compactly and far more quickly than your traditional folding. Now this actual fold is called the Miura fold and it’s also used outside of solar panels. It’s actually been recently tested with lithium ion batteries because it folds down so compactly it improves the energy density. But that’s not the reason why I love this. Not because it’s gone into space but because it works so well for maps. You can take a map out of your pocket, instantly unfold it, see exactly where you are, and instantly fold it back up again. And no other fold, I know for maps, can do this thing. So despite being an amazing piece of origami that’s gone into space, it’s actually the most useful piece of origami I know down here on earth. [Subtitles: GC
Translating these subtitles? Add your name here!]

99 thoughts on “Origami In Space

  1. You can fold a map!
    Or you know… Make a better battery that can power your phone from which you can use the maps application for longer?

  2. I tried this out and somehow got it to work. Pretty cool. Although I think it works best if the paper has a certain aspect ratio?

  3. You should have let Tef go to the Bathroom before starting to record. I got seasick just from watching the poor guy constantly stepping back and forth.

  4. Does anyone else find it annoying when people close their eyes for longer than a blink when they are explaining things? As if they are saying, "why do I have to explain this?"

  5. pardon the pun but with all those joints would it be "space" efficient would there be any room for the panels and wiring?

  6. So, he doesn't explain what he's doing after the "snake" fold, but it's actually really important. If you tried this and found that yours didn't work at all, either watch that part closely or find another video that explains it. Once you know that last step, it's actually pretty easy to do – got it on my first try!

  7. I don't know if you answer questions or take request, but I have wondered for a while why the * is used as a wildcard that can represent any string.

  8. For those who don't know because the video didn't explain. In space they use centripetal force to open and close the solar sails with the Miura fold.

  9. And it would still end up a crumpled ball like ever other piece of paper that' ever entered my pockets…

  10. This only a joke: no one is meant to be hurt by this: this is only a joke:….
    Oh, the poor poor man. He still uses PAPER maps…..

  11. They didn't explain that you need an even number of folds in the second part for that to work. The other guy didn't interest me with what he said. The fold isn't really special at all for other uses.

  12. That seems closely related to the folds in old camera bellows, except that the angled folds alternate in direction so the overall shape when partly folded is a zigzag rather than a closed square.

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