ORI* – On the Aesthetics of Folding and Technology 2016

This research examines how new design approaches that utilise advances in scientific origami, computation, robotics, and material experimentation, can influence the functional aesthetic of the art of oribotics. Situated in the context of contemporary electro/mechanical artworks and objects, and joining the fields of origami and robotics, oribotics is influenced by notions of folding scientifically and philosophically.


Matthew Gardiner, creator of Oribotics, explains the ideas and technologies behind his innovative, and beautiful, fusion of folding and robotics.


Oribotics breathes movement into the static domain of origami through responsive robotic technology, and it brings to the viewer of oribotic works, a consideration of the folds found in nature, through the evocation of a state of reflection. Scientific fields like Soft Matter share similar material and design/engineering concerns, utilizing the function of folded surfaces. Origami artists craft works by folding paper, expressing the aesthetic of the fold.


Carbon Fibre
Carbon Fibre. Credit: Matthew Gardiner


The signficance of oribotics is that both the function and aesthetic of folding are expressed by the oriboticist. New design methods for oribotics unfold expressive potential in the research field. Research is focused on the artistic thinking, design and material processes that contribute to the fabrication of robotics from folded surfaces. The processes can be understood as an extension of past oribotic research wherein related concerns are folding pattern design, fabrication technologies, and actuation specific to folding. Cultural and historical perspectives inform the research question, as the group works towards a new theoretical model of Folding as a Language of Structure, expressed as “Folding = Coding for Matter”.


Spiral Fold. Credit: Matthew Gardiner
Spiral Fold. Credit: Matthew Gardiner


Research & Development:

Matthew Gardiner, Hideaki Ogawa, Erwin Reitböck, Rachel Hanlon, Roland Aigner

Funded by FWF PEEK Program, http://fwf.ac.at