The flasher was designed and named by Californian origami artists Jeremy Shafer and Chris Palmer [1]. The natural folding pattern can be created by placing a cloth on a table and turning a cylindrical object with some downward pressure, forming radial pleats spontaneously. The most common application, beyond origami magic tricks, is for wrapping solar sails. NASA engaged origami experts and engineers, including Robert Lang, to design an origami-based solar array [2]. Huge polygonal folded surfaces wrap around a central cylinder to fit within the small size of a spacecraft. An essential quality of origami patterns is to allow the expansion and contraction of geometry in a very programmable way.

[1] Shafer, J. (1995). Flasher. BARF 1995 Spring. Bay Area Rapid Folders Newsletter. Jeremy Shafer.
[2] Zirbel, S. A., Lang, R. J., Thomson, M. W., Sigel, D. A., Walkemeyer, P. E., Trease, B. P., & Howell, L. L. (2013). Accommodating thickness in origami-based deployable arrays. Journal of Mechanical Design, 135(11).

This work is was produced with funding from FWF PEEK Grant AR590 and presented in the Ars Electronica Center Material Lab as part of the 25th Anniversary of the Ars Electronica Futurelab.

Geometry: flat
Force: rotation of a cylinder or polygon on a sheet


Funded through the FWF Austrian Science Fund, PEEK Program, Program Management: Dr. Eugen Banauch.
Gefördert durch den FWF Der Wissenschaftsfonds, Programmlinie PEEK, Programm-Management: Dr. Eugen Banauch.