Heat Lamp Solves IQ test puzzles

Researchers at North Carolina State University have invented an interesting process that might be applied to manufacturing of packing materials and other uses in the future. Anyone that has ever taken an IQ or achievement test will recognize the open pattern and having to figure out what the closed pattern will look like should recognize the patterns here. This is what 2D boxes and shapes look like before they are folded into 3D.

The team of researchers took a type of pre-stressed plastic sheeting and ran it though a standard ink jet printer to print black lines on the material. Thos black lines were the folding points. The team then put the cut out shape under an IR heat lamp and exposed them to the light. The black lines on the shapes absorb more heat than the rest of the shape.

That makes the shape start to close up into a 3D shape from the flat 2D shape. The team found that making the lines thinner or thicker changed the way the lines fold. Using that technique the team was able to make hinges that fold 90-degrees for a cube as well as hinges that fold 120 degrees for a pyramid. The wider the hinge line the more it folds. Patterned hinges make the material fold into more complex shapes.