Engineers Are Using 3D Printers to Create Origami-Inspired Surgical Tools

Technology is kind of like paper. You can only fold a piece of paper in half so many times; likewise, there’s a limit to how small technology can get—unless you combine the two ideas. Engineers at Brigham Young University have devised origami-inspired surgical tools that unfold and expand inside the body. The team described their methods this week in the journal Mechanical Sciences.

"The whole concept is to make smaller and smaller incisions," mechanical engineer Larry Howell said in a press statement. "To that end, we're creating devices that can be inserted into a tiny incision and then deployed inside the body to carry out a specific surgical function." 

The team had previously worked with NASA. "Those who design spacecraft want their products to be small and compact because space is at a premium on a spacecraft, but once you get in space, they want those same products to be large, such as solar arrays or antennas," co-author Spencer Magleby said in the press statement. "There's a similar idea here: We'd like something to get quite small to go through the incision, but once it's inside, we'd like it to get much larger."

"These small instruments will allow for a whole new range of surgeries to be performed—hopefully one day manipulating things as small as nerves," Magleby continued. "The origami-inspired ideas really help us to see how to make things smaller and smaller and to make them simpler and simpler."

For more on these remarkably tiny tools—and to see them in action—check out the video from Brigham Young above.

Header image from YouTube // Brigham Young University 

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Tom Etherington, Penguin Press
The Covers of Jack Kerouac's Classic Titles Are Getting a Makeover
Tom Etherington, Penguin Press
Tom Etherington, Penguin Press

Readers have been enjoying classic Jack Kerouac books like The Dharma Bums and On the Road for decades, but starting this August the novels will have a new look. Several abstract covers have been unveiled as part of Penguin’s "Great Kerouac" series, according to design website It’s Nice That.

The vibrant covers, designed by Tom Etherington of Penguin Press, feature the works of abstract expressionist painter Franz Kline. The artwork is intended to capture “the experience of reading Kerouac” rather than illustrating a particular scene or character, Etherington told It’s Nice That. Indeed, abstract styles of artwork seem a fitting match for Kerouac’s “spontaneous prose”—a writing style that was influenced by improvisational jazz music.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of The Dharma Bums, which was published just one year after On the Road. The Great Kerouac series will be available for purchase on August 2.

[h/t It's Nice That]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Apple
Here's a Preview of the 70 New Emojis Coming to Your iPhone
Apple
Apple

Get ready to add a whole new set of symbols to your emoji vocabulary. As CNN reports, Apple has released a sneak peak of some of the 70 new emojis coming to iOS in late 2018.

In February 2018, the Unicode Consortium announced the latest additions to their official emoji database. Software makers have since been working on customizing the designs for their own operating systems, and now iPhone and iPad users are getting a preview of what the new emojis will look like on their devices.

One of the most highly anticipated new symbols is the redhead emoji, something people have been demanding for a while. A curly haired option, another popular request, will be added to the line-up, as will gray-hair and bald emoji choices. Each of the new hair types can be added to the classic face emoji regardless of gender, but when it comes to specific characters like the bride or the jogger emojis, users will be limited to the same hair options they had before.

If Apple users ever want to express their inner superhero, two new super characters, a man and woman, will let them do so. They will also have new "smiley" symbols to choose from, like a party emoji, a sad eyes emoji, and a frozen emoji.

In the food category you have a head of lettuce and a mango, and for dessert, a cupcake and a mooncake—a festive Chinese pastry. New animals include a peacock, a kangaroo, and a lobster. The lobster emoji stirred some controversy in February when Mainers noticed the Unicode version was missing a set of legs. The design was quickly revised, and Apple's version is also anatomically correct.

These images just show a small sample of the emojis that will be included in an iOS update planned for later in 2018. Users will have to wait to see the final designs for other the symbols on the list.

New Apple emojis.
Apple

New Apple emojis.
Apple

New Apple emojis.
Apple

New Apple emojis.
Apple

[h/t CNN]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios