Scientists, engineers, and inventors have begun incorporating origami techniques into their work.
In 2015, Robert J. Lang helped engineers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory design a prototype for a telescope lens that could be precisely folded, packed into a rocket, and then reconstructed in space without damage.
In 2016-17, scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory built and tested the Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot (PUFFER), which can fold itself flat when it needs to crawl into small spaces.
A team of researchers led by Carol Livermore, a professor at Northeastern University, has received a grant from the National Science Foundation and the US Air Force to study how origami techniques can be used to manipulate human tissue from 2-D to 3-D.
Professor Zhong You of Oxford University and other researchers have invented stent grafts that fold into compact shapes that can be inserted into blood vessels and then expanded. Because they consist of a single piece of foil, they are more stable and effective than previous models using wire mesh.
Larry L. Howell and other researchers at Brigham Young University have devised several useful objects, including oriceps, a tiny pair of foldable forceps, and a portable Kevlar shield that can be quickly expanded to protect police officers from gunfire.
Researchers at Harvard University, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study built a hand-like device that can quickly enfold soft-bodied sea creatures to trap and release them without damaging their bodies.
The Skidmore, Owings & Merrill design firm used origami principles to create the Kinematic Sculpture, a 27-foot-long structure that reshape itself from a flat panel to an arch to a cylinder.
Anton Willis designed a sturdy, lightweight canoe that can be folded up into the size of a backpack for easy transportation and storage.
In the 1970s, Japanese astrophysicist Koryo Miura developed the Miura fold, which allows flat sheets to be folded into a small area and unfolded to their full size by pulling on two corners. At first the only practical application for the Miura fold was subway maps, but a Japanese satellite launched in 1995 with solar panels that expand and retract with Miura folds.