Apr. 4th, 2011

Oxford origami engineers have published a paper giving a method of folding a paper bag down flat by "rigid origami" methods, i.e. bending it only at the creases. This invites the question of what's non-rigid about the usual method.

Playing with a paper bag, I'm not sure. It's certainly hard to fold it in a manner that is rigid, but I can't convince myself that it can't be done. The part that looks most suspicious to me is whether you have to twist the long vertical panels on the side, either that or bend the front and back. Can anyone see it? And describe it textually? :)

(Theorem 1 here says the state space of the rigidified traditional shopping bag is just the two isolated points "open" and "flat", but all the proofs are off in some full paper somewhere.)

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Eli

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