A geometry-based framework for modeling the complexity of origami folding

Samuel Schulman, Xin Ning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a quantitative framework to analyze the complexity of folding origami structures from flat membranes. Extensive efforts have realized intricate origami patterns with desired functions such as mechanical properties, packaging efficiency, and deployment behavior. However, the complexity associated with the manufacturing or folding of origami patterns has not been explored. Understanding how difficult origami structures are to make, and how much time they require to form is crucial information to determining the practical feasibility of origami designs and future applications such as robotic origami assembly in space. In this work, we develop this origami complexity metric by modeling the geometric properties and crease formation of the origami structure, from which it outputs crease and pattern complexity values and a prediction of the time to complete the pattern assembly, based on the characteristics of the operator. The framework is experimentally validated by fabricating various Miura-ori origami paper models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100241
JournalTheoretical and Applied Mechanics Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Framework
  • Miura-ori
  • Origami folding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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