Origami embedding of piecewise-linear two-manifolds


Bern, M. W.; Hayes, B. Origami embedding of piecewise-linear two-manifolds. Proceedings of the 8th International Latin American Symposium on Theoretical Informatics (LATIN 2008); 2008 April; Bazios, Brazil. Berlin: Springer; LNCS 4957: 617-629.


Answering a question of Erik Demaine, we prove that the surface of any bounded polyhedron in Euclidean 3-space can be folded flat. That is, by adding extra vertices and edges (creases), we can re-embed the polyhedral surface as a flat origami, meaning a set of non-crossing polygons in Euclidean 2-space ‘plus layers’. More generally, we show that any compact, orientable, piecewise-linear 2-manifold with Euclidean metric can be embedded in Euclidean 2-space plus layers. This result gives a piecewise-linear analogue to the Nash embedding theorems for Riemannian manifolds.

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