Origami is a potentially elegant and powerful source of inspiration for many engineering designs. The viable shapes (fold states) of a single device allow it to perform multiple, seemingly contradictory, functions. The fold state is a large factor in the device's performance, but there are challenges in selecting and maintaining those fold states. In this thesis we analyze existing concepts for overcoming these challenges. Those concepts are compared with those that occur in origami-based devices. From this analysis fundamental gaps were identified, specifically, shortcoming in the terminology used to refer to (1) non-flat origami states and (2) sets of facets and creases. Likewise we found a need for a comprehensive categorization method of fold states. Fold states are divided into seven types based on the set of fold angles they contain: U, P, F, UP, UF, PF, and UPF. The origami-based devices are analyzed based on their functional fold states, showing an emphasis on P and PF fold states. The fold states and their functions are tabulated. We demonstrate the table as a tool in an origami-based design method. Selecting fold states for an application is just the first step for effective use of origami. Once selected, the origami fold state must be maintained during use to perform its functions. This thesis also outlines the Origami Stability Integration Method (OSIM) for integrating a wealth of stability techniques. These techniques are categorized and analyzed to assist designers in selecting a technique for a device's application. Both methods, the fold-state selection method and the OSIM, are demonstrated in designing an origami-based ballistic barrier. The barrier is designed to stow in a compact fold state and deploy to a partially folded state to provide protection during armed conflicts. Quick deployment and a stable structure make the barrier a valuable example of origami-based design, demonstrating these two methods in addressing some of origami's design challenges.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





origami, fold states, origami linkage, stability, design, spherical mechanism