Summary: The ancient Japanese art of kirigami is inspiring modern engineering breakthroughs, yielding visually stunning and robust designs. MIT researchers have merged kirigami with honeycomb and bone-like attributes, creating steel-like cork materials. They applied this technique to develop plate lattices with remarkable strength for automotive and aerospace applications. The approach enhances structures through facets and creases, enabling lightweight, durable, and shock-absorbing components, while also giving rise to artistic sculptures.The fusion of centuries-old artistic craftsmanship and cutting-edge engineering innovation is unfolding through kirigami, the Japanese art of paper folding and cutting. This age-old technique has ignited novel applications, culminating in resplendent yet sturdy designs. The latest evolution, orchestrated by researchers at MIT, seamlessly incorporates properties reminiscent of honeycombs and human bones, introducing a pioneering dimension to architectural materials and potential enhancements for airplanes, spacecraft, and robots.The forthcoming presentation at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Computers and Information in Engineering Conference will unveil MIT’s breakthrough. The team at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA) has devised an inventive method to craft plate lattices, essential for advanced automotive and aerospace structures. Described as "steel cork," these materials possess the lightness of cork along with remarkable strength and stiffness, as Neil Gershefeld, the senior author of the paper, elucidates.The innovative stride reimagines the traditional origami Miura-ori crease, which forms the foundation of plate lattice structures. By modifying the angles into facets, the engineers facilitated attachment through rivets and bolts, replacing the intricate and costly adhesives and welding of conventional plate lattice designs. The adaptability of this approach, resembling cellular structures within bones and honeycombs, allows customization for specific stiffness, flexibility, and strength.Notably, the kirigami-augmented plate lattices demonstrated thrice the resilience of standard aluminum corrugation designs, promising applications in lightweight, shock-absorbing components for vehicles, aircraft, and space vessels.While fostering engineering prowess, the artistic potential of kirigami is also spotlighted. MIT’s graduate students crafted three-dimensional sculptures, a testament to the interplay between mathematical precision and aesthetic allure. As Alfonso Parra Rubio, a co-lead author, emphasizes, "The artistic piece is only possible because of the math and engineering contributions we are showing in our papers."Although challenges persist in modeling the intricate lattice manufacturing process, MIT envisions user-friendly CAD tools to simplify and streamline the kirigami design journey. Furthermore, the team aims to curtail the computational costs associated with simulating designs, thereby extending the reach of this artistic and engineering marvel.Conclusion: Kirigami's marriage of artistry and engineering is rewriting the playbook for materials innovation. MIT's pioneering approach, drawing inspiration from Japanese tradition, not only fortifies structures but also adorns them with aesthetic finesse, exemplifying the harmonious coexistence of art and science.