Origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, has been used previously to inspire engineering solutions for compact, deployable designs. Action origami, the subset of origami dealing with models designed to move, is a previously unexplored area for engineering design solutions that are deployable and have additional motion in the deployed state. A literature review of origami in engineering is performed, resulting in seven key areas of technical origami literature from a wide variety of disciplines. Spherical mechanisms are identified as the method by which most action origami models achieve complicated motion while remaining flat-foldable. The subset of action origami whose motion originates from spherical mechanisms is termed "kinematic origami''. Action origami is found to contain large coupled systems of spherical mechanisms. All possible action origami models are classified by their spherical mechanism structure, resulting in eight possible categories. Viewing action origami as spherical mechanisms allows the use of established equations for kinematic analysis. Several kinematic origami categories are used to demonstrate a method for the position analysis of coupled systems of spherical mechanisms. Input-output angle relationships and coupler link motions are obtained for a single spherical mechanism, two spherical mechanisms coupled together, and four spherical mechanisms coupled in a loop arrangement. This lays a groundwork from which it is possible to create compact, deployable mechanisms with motion in the deployed state.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





action origami, compliant mechanisms, spherical mechanisms