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Everybody knows about origami, this impressive skill of folding a piece of paper, generally resulting in amazingly complex figures. You won’t be surprised to know that nature masters this art, and has been mastering it for probably much longer than humans. The earwig’s wing is the perfect illustration. This is where art, biology and engineering meet. Researchers from the ETH Zürich and the Purdue University combined their skills to develop a bio-inspired spring origami, drawing their inspiration from the unusual folding system of the earwig’s wing. The work showed that the insect’s wing doesn’t respect one of the mathematical aspect of origamis (the angular sum should be equal to 360˚). This allows them to have an area during the flight 10 to 18 times larger than when the wings are retracted, and they remain open by a bistable locking mechanism during flight and self-fold rapidly with no muscular actuation. Weird right? This arises from the material from which the joints on the wing are made: an elastic biopolymer called resilin which works as an extensional and rotational springs so that the wings can fold in an elastic way. Using the results obtained and a 3D printer, the researchers succeeded to make a prototype able to act juste like the earwig’s wing.