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Solving the universal origami puzzle

MIT/Christine Daniloff

If there is anything that you ever wanted to render as paper — your cat Luna, your first car, just some weird polyhedron — here is your chance. After 17 years of trying, MIT's Erik Demaine has co-written an algorithm that unlocks the secret of how to fold a piece of ordinary paper into any shape at all, using the minimum number of seams.

Why it matters: Origami has practical design applications, from fashioning molecules in drugs, collapsible solar-arrays in space, and miniature robots.