The term paper engineering refers to artists and designers who work with precisely detailed paper constructions to create pop-up and interactive books and other objects. Paper engineers combine cutting, folding, pasting, and assembling to make a predetermined shape and form that can be contained flat within a closed condition, but when opened, raises into its 3D form. Paper engineering can also refer to constructing of an object out of paper which is designed to remain three-dimensional. Screenshot via paperdesignpaper.com, November 2011.
Recent MICA MFA graduate Isabel Uria is a paper engineer. Her work is beautiful. Like origami, it is a tactile, physical way to learn abstract mathematical concepts. MIT professor Erik Demaine, a child prodigy who studies the computational theory of folded structures, looks to origami to analyze molecular structures, as mentioned in Calculating Change: Why Origami Is Critical to New Drugs: The Folded Universe:
What does the Japanese art of paper folding have to do with higher math? Plenty. Demaine’s origami work provides insights as readily into the problems of sheet-metal engineering as it does into those of robotics and molecular biology. He made his mark while still a teen by solving two major conundrums: the “fold and cut” and “carpenter’s rule” problems. The former asks what types of shapes you can make by folding a sheet of paper and cutting it just once. The answer, Demaine helped prove, is any shape you like. The latter, a long-standing and deceptively complex problem, asks whether every shape formed by folding lines linked by hinges, as in a carpenter’s rule, can be unfolded. Demaine helped show it can. Now he’s tackling the hottest folding problem of the day: finding the rules that govern how protein molecules twist into the complex shapes that are key to their biological function. Predicting how they do that would help pharmaceutical firms design more effective drugs.
Which makes me really want to watch this: