Bio-inspired origami wins Best Paper Award

A paper entitled "Characterization of Multistable Self-Folding Origami Architectures," written by Salvador Rojas, Katherine Riley, and Andres Arrieta, has won Best Paper Award at the 5th International Conference on Reconfigurable Mechanisms and Robots (ReMAR 2021).



Andres Arrieta, associate professor of mechanical engineering, has long explored the field of bio-inspired origami. The Venus flytrap, for example, is the fastest mover in the plant kingdom, with two leaves that quickly close on insects. The leaves are bistable, meaning they naturally rest in one state, and then in another. Arrieta reasoned that, with no muscles to actuate its movement, the shape of the leaves themselves enable the Venus flytrap to maintain those two stable states. Arrieta also drew inspiration from the earwig, an insect whose wing can fold to 10 times its size with minimal muscle movement.

He and his team began experimenting with duplicating these origami feats using 3D printing. With a combination of techniques, they demonstrated a series of objects that are 3D printed as flat sheets, but when heat is applied, the objects change shape into a 3D structure. The objects remained bi-stable between the two states. Notably, this method allows for adjusting the stable shapes after manufacturing, thereby enabling a route to endless reprogramming of multi-stable origami structures.

The team's latest paper delves into even more detail, presenting a method for designing self-folding, multistable origami structures, based on bioinspired spring origami theory and bilayer crease architectures. It won Best Paper Award for Reconfigurable Mechanisms at the 5th International Conference on Reconfigurable Mechanisms and Robots (ReMAR 2021), organized by Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and International Federation for the Promotion of Mechanism and Machine Science (IFToMM). The triennial conference - previously held in London, Tianjin, Beijing, Delft, and Toronto - will be held at Purdue University in 2024.


Writer: Jared Pike,, 765-496-0374

Source: Andres Arrieta,

Previous work: