Traditional origami folds a flat sheet into a seemingly endless variety of forms. Almost nothing is known about folding curved paper since it is so difficult to make. We developed a technique to fold curved polymer shells, and characterize the behavior of these individual folds. We provide a geometric mechanism that demonstrates that some folds are multistable and some fold continuously. This simple geometrical rule enables the use curved folding to design multistable structures which can rapidly snap between ground states.
To appear in Proceedings of the National Academy: Early online publication.
Also see this article on Live Science.