CMU School of Drama

Monday, March 20, 2017

Robert Lang's Paper Creatures

Uncrate: You'll never want to make a paper crane again after you see Robert Lang's epic origami designs. A former NASA physicist, Robert's love of folding paper isn't limited to just animals — his designs have been used in everything from spacecraft to air bags. In 2001, Robert quit his day job to focus on origami full-time, applying its principals to everyday problems in the real world.


Katherine Sharpless said...

I would take a 3D modeling class with origami (Kevin?) in a heartbeat. I've loved origami since I was a kid, and I never got much farther than repeatedly making a bunch of paper cranes or those little dolls made from a few hundred folded triangles. The math behind the pieces Robert Lang is making, from his animal replicas to projects for NASA, seems so difficult to devise from just a single piece of paper. I did see a documentary on origami a while ago about other people who have made it their career or life's work, so I wasn't surprised to learn that a physicist working with lasers is the type of academic to have a career in origami. It's also fascinating that this craft has been around since the 16-1700s and is still being used, but as more than a craft and art form. It's used in space crafts and automobile safety. I'd love to also learn more about how older crafts and artistic techniques have been integrated into 21st century designs.

Claire Krueger said...

The video was beautifully put together but nothing compared to all the mathematics that went into Robert Lang’s origami. It was interesting seeing him work in large scale before sizing it down and the lines/thought process he uses illustrated in video editing. The patterns and more geometric shapes and contraptions feel wildly more impressive than the animals but I’m assuming the website attracts more people with cute animals instead of scaled down mechanical processes, as awesome as they are. Seeing the origami techniques mirrored in computer renderings of the purpose they serve in space was incredible to consider that origami scales incredibly well. While Robert Lang’s origami creations are made in many scales throughout the video I expected it would involve more calculations to scale the shapes. I’m not sure why materials like fabric don't scale for very obvious reasons but I see no issue with the paper scaling in the sizes Robert Lang works, so I’m not sure why I thought it would be more work.

Mark Ivachtchenko said...

When I think of origami, I would've never considered mathematics. It seems so obvious that paper folding, something that science and math have dug their teeth into throughout history, would have a strong foundation from the two sects since it is geometry after all. I think it's impressive that he sketches out his own designs, often using complex mathematics, and that some of his folds and movements find themselves in movements like NASA, robotics, and nanotechnology. I think this is an amazing example of how art and science can combine so well. This article really rings some of the models we've been making in our drafting class because it's a much more mathematical way of doing paper craft. Especially in theater our TD's (like Kevin) are still in a highly artistic and are quite literally using origami to study maths and structure. You really can do anything you want in the world, as illustrated by Robert Lang and his commitment to studying origami as his full time job.

Cosette Craig said...

This looks like an article that Kevin Hines emailed Boevers insisting it go on the greenpage. This reminds me that autoCAD needs to make an unwrap function. If you 3d model something in maya, another Autodesk program, you have the option of UV mapping it to lay a texture over and something like that would be incredibly useful for pattern making. It probably exists but I am not googling the right thing. Although I was hashtag triggered from Dick’s class and our recent pattern making, I was impressed by his ability to visualize then mathematical draft out intricate curves and complex figures. He also does the conceptualization part, not just the execution, which makes it all the more exciting and challenging. It’s interesting how he has found ways to integrate a hobby into engineering concepts and literally use his origami to travel to space. This is like the book we read in Kevin’s that wasn’t about theater but it totally was.

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