The Fold and the Beautiful


Anyone who has tried to fold up a road map knows that origami is a valuable skill to have. With the right folds, you can transform a few square sheets of paper into practically anything, from cranes that flap their wings and balloons that inflate to frogs that jump.

Origami is truly a puzzly art form with all sorts of unexpected uses in the modern day, providing a unique solution to confounding problems.

For instance, it’s rare to encounter a spacecraft that doesn’t incorporate folding solar panels, wings, or other collapsible/expandable parts that are based on classic origami folds.


This mechanism, a solar array, is based on a Miura fold. The creation of Japanese astrophysicist Koryo Miura, the Miura fold allows a checkerboard-like field of interconnected parallelograms to unfold like a flower into a large, flat, circular surface.

This design is easily scaled up by adding more pieces to the network of folding peaks and valleys, allowing for different sized circular fields to be formed as needed. The array of motors around the Miura fold work like a Hoberman sphere, one of those expanding plastic toys that blooms outward with ease.

Not only does this allow them to save space for travel (and remain safe in transit), but it maximizes space when unfolded, allowing for greater surface area for energy absorption. The Mars landers, for instance, routinely incorporated folding mechanisms not only for solar panels, but for the landing platforms from which the landers emerged onto the surface.

That sort of space-efficient thinking has led to another unexpected solution, this time for plant lovers.

One recurring problem with plants is that, as they grow, they sometimes require repotting into larger containers. But what if that wasn’t necessary? What if the flower pot could adapt to the needs of the plant?

Once again, origami principles rush to the rescue.


This is Growth, a resizable origami planter designed by Studio Ayaskan, and it incorporates origami folds into its basic design so that it can expand to fit the needs of a growing plant.

Unlike the Miura fold, Growth relies on a recurring series of triangular folds (possibly a variation of the Yoshimura folding pattern) that allow the piece to balloon outward, increasing the interior space for the plant’s root system to grow.


This feels like one of those RVs where the ceiling can be raised and the sleeping area expanded out beyond the camper itself, offering greater freedom of movement and more living space than allowed when the RV is closed up for travel.

Watching the unfolding pot accordion outward is thoroughly impressive, and this feels like a smart step forward for all sorts of storage. Imagine a suitcase with a similar design that becomes bigger as needed. That would be super-handy.

As we continue to invent and innovate forward, it’s amazing how new creations can trace their origins back to classic techniques, just applied in a clever new fashion.

That’s the puzzly way, of course.

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PuzzleNation App Review: Shuttle Shuffle

Welcome to the another edition of PuzzleNation App Reviews! Today we continue our quest to explore the world of puzzly games and apps for your tablet or smartphone!

Our resident app player and puzzle fiend Sherri has a new game for us today, so let’s get down to business and dive into her review of Shuttle Shuffle for iPhone and Android!

Shuttle Shuffle is a game where the goal is to return stranded aliens to their spaceships, so they can go home.

Hello, humans, your goal is to help the aliens get back to their ships! They need to leave the planet at once. Won’t you please guide them?

This is really cute twist on a clear-the-board type game. Your goal is to clear the aliens from the board by matching them to spaceships of the same color as the aliens. To move them, simply touch an alien and move up, down, left, or right.

However, it isn’t quite that simple, as a column of aliens will move up or down together, and a row of aliens will move left or right together. This can make earning the medals and stars tricky.

There is also a social aspect to the game. When you earn medals, you have a choice of earning a tickets to challenge another player or a ticket to make your own board with which to challenge another player. This adds a nice twist to the game.

This is a really enjoyable game. For fans of this type of game, it is highly recommended. This will keep you puzzling for ages.

Ratings for Shuttle Shuffle:

  • Enjoyability: 3/5 — This is really fun and quite challenging! Trying to earn the medals and stars really takes thought.
  • Puzzle incorporation: 3/5 — In each level, you have to puzzle out how to get the aliens to their ships, each level with its own layout of aliens, which often provides a chain-solving challenge.
  • Graphics: 4/5 — Except for the blinking eyeball, the graphics are static, but they are very bright and colorful. You move the aliens along a standard grid, and the background of the first world, Terra, features clouds and spaceships launching.
  • Gameplay: 4/5 — This is a really cute twist on a clear-the-board game. The aliens are adorable, and the levels get increasingly more difficult, so you really have to think to earn the medals and stars. Plus, the social aspect of designing your own levels adds an extra dimension to the game.

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! You can share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and be sure to check out the growing library of PuzzleNation apps and games!