If you squeeze a box of cereal just a little bit, you’ll instantly hear the crunch of fiber flakes and stale marshmallows. But if you smashed down this origami donut, created by Bin Liu, from the University of California, Merced, the contents inside its center cavern would be protected, crunch-free, even if the structure itself would appear to collapse.
Why? The short answer is that origami is crazy.
The long answer is that Liu laser-carved a circle of paper with a series of indentations (or really precise fold marks, essentially). These indentations are a series of concentric circles that get smaller and smaller toward the center. The concentric circles themselves assemble into several rings of triangles, too. Confused yet? It’s okay. Basically, what happens on a grand scale is that all of these shapes lean into one another when squished, creating a series of self-supporting zigzags. And the hollow center of the ring stays unaffected like the calm eye of a storm.
Liu tells New Scientist that the origami folding could be applied to any number of materials to create lightweight but strong structures. And it’s easy to let your imagination run wild, especially in retail goods. You could imagine packages crunching down safely for efficient transportation, but then popping out to become prominent on the store shelves. Someone please show this to Kellogg General Mills. We really, really despise that cereal dust.