Kirigami is the Japanese art of paper cutting. Likely derived from the Chinese art of jiǎnzhǐ, it emerged around the 7th century in Japan, where it was used to decorate temples. Still in practice today, the kirigami artist uses one piece of paper to cut decorative designs, like birds and fish or the more intricate and popular snowflake.
But, this ancient art, which relies on exacting cuts to determine or replicate patterns, is finding more modern and practical applications in electronics. Specifically, in the manufacture of 2D stretchable materials that can play host to wearable electronics, like electronic skins for health monitoring.
The process combines the art of kirigami with an artificial intelligence technique called autonomous reinforcement learning. And to better synchronize the old with the new, researchers from the University of Southern California use the computing power available to them at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory.