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Bioinspired Origami: Information Retrieval Techniques for Design of Foldable Engineering Applications
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The science of folding has inspired and challenged scholars for decades. Origami, the art of folding paper, has led to the development of many foldable engineering solutions with applications in manufacturing, materials, and product design. Interestingly, three fundamental origami crease patterns are analogous to folding observed in nature. Numerous folding patterns, structures, and behaviors exist in nature that have not been considered for engineering solutions simply because they are not well-known or studied by designers. While research has shown applying biological solutions to engineering problems is significantly valuable, various challenges prevent the transfer of knowledge from biology to the engineering domain. One of those challenges is the retrieval of useful design inspiration. In this dissertation work, information retrieval techniques are employed to retrieve useful biological design solutions and a text-based search algorithm is developed to return passages where folding in nature is observed. The search algorithm, called FoldSearch, integrates tailored biological keywords and filtering methods to retrieve passages from an extensive biological corpus. The performance of FoldSearch is evaluated using statistical methods for information retrieval and validated using inter-rater reliability analysis. The utility of FoldSearch is demonstrated through two case studies where the retrieved biological examples undergo a design abstraction process that leads to the development of bioinspired origami crease patterns and novel foldable structures. The design abstraction process is presented as an additional research contribution and demonstrates the potential to provide bioinspired design solutions for the growing research field of origami engineering.
Morris, Elissa (2019). Bioinspired Origami: Information Retrieval Techniques for Design of Foldable Engineering Applications. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from