The Popular Edge, Pop-Up and Book Arts News

February 22, 2012

Pop-Up Inspired Micro-Robotics

Filed under: paper engineering, pop-up books — Tags: , , — popularkinetics @ 8:43 pm

Pratheev Sreetharan and his team of engineers at Harvard’s Microbiotics Lab had a problem. They were trying to produce very small flying micro robots (about the size of a bee). However, building such miniscule pieces of technology was fraught with difficulties. “You’d take a very fine tungsten wire and dip it in a little bit of superglue,” explains Sreetharan. “Then, with that tiny ball of glue, you’d go in under a microscope like an arthroscopic surgeon and try to stick it in the right place.”

The solution to their dilemma was inspired by a study of origami and pop-up books. They constructed a flat sandwich of 18 layers of different materials (plastic film, carbon fiber, titanium, etc.). Then, utilizing a series of movable hinges, they folded the tiny circuit board to “pop” the robot into three-dimensional form. To watch a film of the process, go to

The robots might be used in the future for weather observations, traffic monitoring, emergency rescue, and more disturbingly, surveillance. Let’s hope this interesting pop-up application “does no evil.”

February 7, 2012

A Pop-Up Occupy Tent of Your Own

Filed under: crafts, paper crafts, paper engineering, Uncategorized — Tags: , — popularkinetics @ 9:09 pm
Here’s a creative way to occupy your space on the national map and get your message heard: with your own Pop-Up Occupy Tent.

Go to and download the USA map card and tent pattern of your choice. Write your message on the side of the tent and follow the directions for cutting out and constructing the pop-up into the card.

Address your tent to your government representative. Make several. Set up your own encampment. Send them to all your representatives. It’s fun and harder to ignore than an email or tweet. (Can you imagine all these little tents popping up at the White House and in the offices on Capitol Hill !!! ) Plus, the post office will love you for your business. 

February 3, 2012

The CERN Collider Pop-Up

Filed under: books, paper engineering, pop-up books — Tags: , , — popularkinetics @ 10:18 pm

For all of you aspiring physicists out there, here’s an intriguing introduction to the workings of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, located between Switzerland and France. Not many get to actually see the collider, so to help people understand how it works, scientist Emma Sanders and paper engineer Anton Radevsky collaborated to create this exact-scale model in pop-up book form. The book describes how the Atlas Experiment is trying to uncover the origins of our universe by smashing protons together at very high speeds. It took 15 years to build the actual collider, but you can build your own paper version into the book in just a few minutes, as shown in this short YouTube video. Thanks to Bryant Holsenbeck for sending us this link.

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