Ever since he was a child, engineer Ata Sina has been fascinated by paper. At TEDxRenfrewCollingwood, he explains how this fascination drove him to create a type of paper that takes on a life of its own. He creates complex, origami-like paper designs that fold themselves when heated.
How does it work? Sina coats paper with special thermoplastic polymers that shrink when heated, and he uses software to carefully plan where to cut and crease paper so that his designs will fold in the exact way he wants when coated with these polymers and shrunk. The cut and creased paper is covered in the polymers and then thrown in a toaster oven and, poof, you have a sturdy, strong, lightweight, paper creation.
For what could Sina’s designs be used? Well, he envisions a day when you could buy a paper couch and watch it assemble itself, or have toys come by the page instead of in a box, and bring each page to life with a hair dryer.
Until then, watch his talk to learn more: