Sunday, September 5, 2010
In my aquarium I have a number of Amano Shrimp who keep the place clean. Amano Shrimp originate from South Eastern Asia and have clear bodies about a knuckle long with wine-red spots. They have an interesting life cycle in that they are a fresh water shrimp whose larvae require salt water to live. In the wild they must migrate up and down rivers throughout their lives. When I give my fish flake food, these shrimp always dart forward and snatch the largest flakes. They then fold up the flakes into what looks like origami shapes before munching on them. I assume they fold their food this way to make a large flake less cumbersome to move with – or perhaps they just like origami.
Origami is a Japanese art of folding paper. According to wikipedia: The goal of this art is to transform a flat sheet of material into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques, and as such the use of cuts or glue are not considered to be origami. I have a number of origami how-to books from which I could make creatures from sea stars to giraffes – I don't do a lot of folding, I just have some books.
Origami is an applied geometry that has practical applications beyond making pretty cranes. Origami folds can be planned mathematically as there are a limited number of ways a piece of paper can be folded. Computational origami extends the math to optimize folds for practical like folding an airbag for car or finding an efficient way to fold solar panels to make the journey to space.
Interesting links here and here.