Your Swiss Army knife may soon look more like a folding napkin than a bulky piece of metal in your pocket. A team at MIT and Harvard recently developed self-folding fiberglass sheets, only as thick as a human hair, that can can fold themselves into any number of pre-programmed shapes.
Eventually the sheets will be able to form large objects, but today they’re more like self-folding origami. When a bit of electricity is applied to the embedded wires, the sheets can form themselves into boat and airplane shapes. Future generations of the design will use pre-programmed “stickers” to tell the sheets which shape to take. Eventually, we may have self-folding silverware sets that fit between the pages of a book.