This image shows a folded frequency selective surface composed of printed spirals on a polypropylene substrate, where a Miura-ori fold pattern has been imprinted through laser scoring. Folding enables deployment and operational tunability. (Courtesy of AFRL)

For scientists and engineers at the Air Force Research Laboratory, the prospect of using origami to create complex, multi-functional materials from a two-dimensional substrate is a highly attractive concept, with the potential to deliver engineering solutions and new applications for the Air Force.

Origami was explored years ago for military needs like morphing aircraft, but other applications include antenna deployment or for signal filters. Origami is also useful for space applications. It may provide a way to fold an application to fit a launch vehicle, and also provide diverse folded states of application utility once there.