Discover the Ins and Outs of Folding Patterns with this Origami Simulator

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Origami, which comes from the Japanese words ori meaning “folding” and kami meaning “paper”, is a pretty niche field which requires dedication, delicate hands, and a lot of free time. While most of us can make a paper plane or boat, the more obscure origami designs require numerous steps and intricate folds to create.

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This origami simulator by coder Amanda Ghassaei is unlike your conventional origami. Instead of following a series of steps to create a paper animal, her program folds every crease simultaneously by looking for displacements in the flat geometry.

Users can upload their SVG or FOLD patterns, or use one of the pre-existing examples. After choosing one, you can move its simulation around and adjust aspects such as the fold percentage, edge visibility, and pattern stiffness. It isn’t a video game, but it does have VR headset and hand controller capabilities which let you interact with the pattern in a digital construct.

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The program even has a Pattern mode which shows each specific fold and where it corresponds to. All the 3D interaction and rendering is done with Javascript 3D library threejs while path-data polyfill helps with SVG path parsing.

This online app was made as a final project for Amanda’s Geometric Folding Algorithms class in MIT, but it is no less impressive. You can find the code for the program on Github. If you think you have a folded pattern worth sharing, or if you want to see her other feats of design prowess, you can check her website for her email address and other projects.

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