Penn State Altoona professor part of $2M grant for origami design
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 490 hits
ALTOONA — Rebecca Strzelec, professor of visual arts at Penn State Altoona, is 1 of 5 co-primary investigators for a grant from the National Science Foundation that has positive implications for the medical field, aircraft, robots, and space structures. The research objective of this Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) Origami Design for the Integration of Self-Assembling Systems for Engineering Innovation (ODISSEI) award is to develop methods to design origami structures that actively fold from an initially flat sheet to complex three-dimensional shapes in response to multiple fields (e.g., electric, thermal, magnetic). They will also actively unfold, in contrast to current origami structures that must be manually unfolded. These multi-field responsive origami shapes will be developed through collaboration with a visual artist (Strzelec) and approximated and modeled using geometric modeling and origami mathematics.
Strzelec's role is to use artistic problem solving to help find the most successful shapes to use in origami math-based systems. She will also lead the outreach efforts in collaboration with the Palmer Museum of Art and the Discovery Center, both in State College. Each summer for four years Strzelec will facilitate workshops at each venue for children based on the research in the grant.
Successful completion of this project will foster novel concepts and design innovation in several application areas. For example, origami-based surgical instruments will benefit minimally invasive surgery, where there is a need for mm-scale devices that can deploy inside the body to manipulate tissue. Similarly, origami-based adaptive aircraft structures, reconfigurable robots, and deployable space structures will help enhance mission versatility. The research will also be leveraged to create interactive artistic pieces and K-12-targeted workshops for the Discovery Space Museum in State College, PA, and Penn State's Palmer Museum of Art.