Origami in Japanese means “folding paper.” It’s been a popular pastime for kids for such a long time that people don’t know when/how it got started. I think every kid in Japan grows up learning at one very popular form of origami, the “crane.”

Origami inherits Zero philosophy because 1) it only requires a piece of paper, 2) there is a well-established, but minimum guideline, to unleash the users’ creativity, and 3) users are free to explore her/his own excitement of converting nothingness (or flatness in this case) into something interesting and inspiring.

7758122 - dollar origami rhino

The fact that Origami only requires minimum materials and leaves enormous freedom to the users has allowed Origami to evolve freely.

I came across the “dollar bill origami” by John Motroll. (the picture above is just an example: not his work) It was a very appropriate encounter:  I found it in a magazine issued by an air carrier. Flying involves a lot of waiting time. From the time you check in, clear security and get on board until you arrive at the destination and find transportation, there is small to medium waiting time everywhere.

And what do we do during those long wait times these days? Electronics! We frantically try to find electrical outlets to plug-in our iPhones, Kindles or whatever gadget we carry. 

I am not denying it, but what if we have something else in our back pocket to entertain us when those gadgets are not available for some reason? Or, what if you don’t want to allow your kids to become addicted to those gadgets?  Everyone carries a dollar bill (or two or three!) in her/his back pocket.  If you can entertain young brains, which have a lot more potential than just passively sitting and watching something on a small screen, it will be great.

Origami has evolved from a simple pastime to something much bigger and scientific. It’s a geometrical exercise by nature.  Mathematicians and scientists from around the world are fascinated by the potential Origami has to let something complex and beautiful emerge from a piece of flat paper.  Here are some links to get inspired both artistically and scientifically.