The Miura Fold Is How You’d Fold a Map if You Were Awesome

In 1995, Japanese astrophysicist Koryo Miura designed a folding mechanism intended to deploying solar panels in space. The method, called the Miura fold or miura-ori, allows you to open and close a folded piece of paper—like a map—with one swift motion. It's pretty like origami and useful like a fox.

Make sense? Probably not. This GIF is probably the best demonstration of the Miura fold in action:

The Miura Fold Is How You'd Fold a Map if You Were AwesomeEntrepreneur Eric Meltzer describes it thusly:

A Miura sheet has only one degree of freedom, and can be thought of as having only two states: fully open, or fully closed. Since reversing one fold in the sheet (that is, making a "mountain" into a "valley") requires reversing all of the adjacent folds as well, the Miura sheet feels as though it has a memory, and is very resistant to deformation.

While designed for solar panels, the fold could clearly come in handy in regular everyday usage—like for folding and unfolding maps. The catch is that if your paper isn't already folded Miura-style, it's fairly complicated to fold. Meltzer offers this folding schematic from Koryo Miura's original design. Alternately, this YouTube video offers another method (that appears to be a little different). If you live in San Francisco and like the idea, you might be interested in Meltzer and his partner Shan Wang's Kickstarter project, a Miura-folded guide to San Francisco.

Whether you've used the Miura fold before or you give it a try today, let's hear how it works for you in the comments.

The Miura-ori and how to fold it | Wheatpond

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