Virtual Origami

Origami, the art of Japanese paper folding, has been a tradition for thousands of years since the Chinese Buddist monk carried the secret of paper making to Korea and Japan. Hardly a mention of origami goes without Eleanor Coerr's award-winning children's title "Sadako and 1,000 Paper Cranes". The paper crane is a simple design, yet embodies joy, hope and peace. It also opens a door into the world of other paper animals, birds, fish, flowers and toys that have delighted and challenged children and adults alike.

By taking advantage of SVG's support for CSS, SMIL Animation and ECMAScript, origami instructions can be made more understandable for the user and easier for the author.

Cascading Style Sheet support in SVG allows one to define repeatedly-used presentation layer components, and re-use them by reference. Re-usable components include fill patterns, markers, line styles, colours, etc. With CSS, the front and back of the paper, different types of crease lines, folding symbols, etc. can be specified, then referenced.

Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) allows the visual animation of the images that make up the instructions. In traditional animation, the start frame, end frame, and all frames in between must be specified by the animator, making animation authoring a slow and tedious process. With SMIL Animation, only the start frame and end frame have to be specifed. Interim transformation frames are computed and displayed by the viewer plug-in.

ECMAScript is the European Computer Manufacturer's Association's standardization for JavaScript and JScript. This allows the user to interact with the folds and folding process. It constrains the environment to facilitate better learning. Whereas a real piece of paper can be folded incorrectly, with ECMAScripts, the user will be guided to perform the correct action.

To ensure a wide audience almost requires solutions be accessible online. CSS, SVG and ECMAScript are text-based standards, and thus platform-independent, human-readable, and easily distributable with the World Wide Web technology available. In addition, the ability for users to see the instructions animated greatly enhances the learning experience and makes for a more rewarding experience.

One of the advantages to Cascading Style Sheets is the adaptability to different forms of publication. Not only can the instructions be served from a Web server, but they can also have a new style sheet applied and be published on hardcopy media.

Creating a new project and documenting progress or experimentation with the toolkit is easy because of the reusability of presentation elements, folds, creases and tucks.

This presentation will demonstrate an SVG-based virtual origami toolkit on examples. Attendees will be invited to participate in the real paper folding as a demonstration of a Virtual Origami instruction set.

Virtual Origami instruction is just one of the visualization and modelling applications of using SVG's support for CSS, SMIL Animation and ECMAScript. The Virtual Origami toolkit is potentially generalizable to provide enhanced training or visualization solutions in contexts where written instructions and printed diagrams are traditionally used, such as instructions for furnature assembly or operating machinery.

Ms. Sienca Teng and Dr. Philip A. Mansfield
#350 - 1190 Homer Street
Vancouver, BC  V6B 2X6
tel:   604-682-3404
fax:   604-682-3432