All About Japan

Meet Orizuru: the First Flying Origami Crane

Technology Origami

For one special little crane who thought he was destined for greater things than gathering dust on someone’s desk, dreams really can come true. The intricately folded origami bird proved that the sky’s the limit when it comes to technology in Japan.

Featured at the annual Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC) trade show in Tokyo, the drone-like crane was created by electronics maker ROHM, in collaboration with ultra-small aircraft specialist Tyoukogata Hikoutai Lab. Called Orizuru, (lit. folded paper crane), the bird has a wingspan of 70 centimeters (27.6 in), yet weighs only 31 grams (1.1 oz).

The collaborative project celebrates the symbolism of the peace crane and the unique Japanese culture of paper folding by incorporating their latest technological innovations to bring the message of peace to life. Watching the crane soar with natural birdlike movements really enhances ROHM’s design concept to "challenge tomorrow with your imagination."

At the heart of the crane is Lazurite Fly, ROHM’s efficient and lightweight microcomputer, which is the size of a SD card and is said to use up to 90 percent less energy than its competitors. Powered by remote control, the creators wanted to recreate the natural wing movement of a bird in flight. To see just how successful they were, take a look at the beautiful flight demonstrations above.

The Orizuru is particularly stunning when dressed up in a traditional origami paper design.

To see the developers talk about the project in Japanese, check out the clip from ROHM above.

There’s no news yet on whether the Orizuru will eventually be released on the market but the makers have mentioned that they will share the schematics online for others to build. The crane might look simple but there’s certainly a lot of lightweight technology involved in giving him the gift of flight.

Happy flying, Orizuru! We’re glad to see you finally take to the sky!

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