I have begun experimenting with different ways of enacting shape-change in paper folds using the Flexinol muscle wire. We began by testing out folding and unfolding a fan shape – however, found that the wire was not strong enough to contract this shape. The issue may be the weight of the paper, the number of folds or a combination of both. The lack of an anchor against which the wire could pull may have also caused problems.
After the first test failed, a second was devised to rectify some of the identified problems. We found a lightweight paper (the instructions from a box of painkillers), and created a fan shape with less folds. We taped it to the table to provide anchorage. We also doubled the wire over to increase its strength. This time, we achieved a small amount of movement.
The next steps are to explore increasing the folds of wire used, working with lightweight papers and identifying the best folds for achieving more dramatic shape-change.