In this video, Dr. Norihiko Ishikawa of the Department of Telesurgery and Geomedicine at the University of Kanazawa demonstrates the precision of the daVinci Surgical System by using the device's remote-control robot arms to fold a penny-sized origami crane. (Watch it.)
Researchers from the University of Tokyo have teamed up with members of the Japan Origami Airplane Association to develop a paper aircraft capable of surviving the flight from the International Space Station to the Earth's surface.
The researchers are scheduled to begin testing the strength and heat resistance of an 8 centimeter (3.1 in) long prototype on January 17 in an ultra-high-speed wind tunnel at the University of Tokyo's Okashiwa campus (Chiba prefecture). In the tests, the origami glider -- which is shaped like the Space Shuttle and has been treated to withstand intense heat -- will be subjected to wind speeds of Mach 7, or about 8,600 kilometers (5,300 miles) per hour.
A large spacecraft such as the Space Shuttle can reach speeds of up to Mach 20 (over 15,200 mph) when it re-enters the Earth's atmosphere, and friction with the air heats the outer surface to extreme temperatures. The much lighter origami aircraft, which the researchers claim will come down more slowly, is not expected to burn up on re-entry.
No launch date has been set for the paper spaceplane, but Shinji Suzuki, an aerospace engineering professor at the University of Tokyo, is thinking ahead. "We hope the space station crew will write a message of peace on the plane before they launch it," says Suzuki. "We don't know where in the world the plane will land, but we hope that whoever finds it will contact us."
Kiri-origami artist Taketori cuts and folds paper to make realistic-looking insects. Each critter is crafted from a single sheet, without glue, and paint is often used to add to the realism. Check out his gallery of 60+ beasties (click the "?????" link on the right side of the page to display the thumbnail images).
Lucanus maculifemoratus vs. Japanese rhinoceros beetle
Paper money is not just for spending -- it is also great for origami.
The Asahi website has posted a story about "Turban Noguchi," a popular origami made using a 1000-yen bill. The bill features a portrait of Hideyo Noguchi, the noted physician and bacteriologist who, among other things, discovered the agent of syphilis in 1911. By folding the money, you can outfit Noguchi with a turban or other fancy headgear.
Asahi credits a Mr. Nakajima, a 29-year-old Nagoya resident, with inventing the original Turban Noguchi origami technique. According to the article, Nakajima discovered Turban Noguchi by accident one night when playing around with his money. "I was shocked by Noguchi's bizarre appearance," he says.
Since then, he has compiled a number of variations, some of which are featured on the Turban Noguchi no Sekai ("The World of Turban Noguchi") website. A couple of links to instructional YouTube videos also appear on the site. This video, for example, shows how to fold a standard Turban Noguchi, and this video shows how to make wedding rings from a 1,000-yen bill and a 5,000-yen bill. Nakajima offers a word of warning to overzealous origami enthusiasts, though -- too much folding can destroy the money, so be careful.
Another website, called Turban Noguchi to Yukai na Nakama-tachi ("Turban Noguchi and His Delightful Companions"), features an AMAZING gallery of origami made with paper money. Highly recommended.
Check out this video showing three amazing creations by master origamist Satoshi Kamiya. Hard to believe, but each of the pieces shown in this video was folded from a single sheet of paper.
The red dragon, made from a 1.2 x 1.2 meter sheet, took only 6 hours to fold. The yellow hornet was commissioned by luxury retailer Hermes and was put on display in their New York store. The white dragon is fashioned from a 2 x 2 meter sheet of paper. "As far as I know, it is the most complex origami in the world," says Kamiya in the video.