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How to Make Any Shape Zippable [research study]

Mathematics comes to the rescue of anyone who wants to make almost any shape “zippable” with a single zipper. This study has details:

Shape Representation by Zippable Ribbons,” Christian Schüller, Roi Poranne, and Olga Sorkine-Hornung, arXiv:1711.02450v1, November 7, 2017. The authors, at ETH Zürich, Switzerland, explain:

“We observe that the assembly of complex 3D shapes created by existing methods often requires first fabricating many small flat parts and then carefully following instructions to assemble them together. Despite its significance, this error prone and tedious process is generally neglected in the discussion. We propose an approach for shape representation through a single developable part that attaches to itself and requires no assembly instructions. Our inspiration comes from the so-called zipit bags, which are made of a single, long ribbon with a zipper around its boundary. In order to ‘assemble’ the bag, one simply needs to zip up the ribbon. Our method operates in the same fashion, but it can be used to approximate any shape.”

(Thanks to Mason Porter for bringing this to our attention.)

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