Origami Engineering Spinal Implant

Aug 2023 - Nov 2023

Origami Engineering and Design: A Hands-On Exploration of Spinal Implants

This hands-on exploration of musculoskeletal engineering and design provided a profound understanding of the challenges and opportunities in improving musculoskeletal health. The journey involved a blend of theoretical learning, practical prototyping, and simulation-based design optimization.

Engaging Hands-On Prototyping and Simulation

An integral part of the project was the hands-on experience in tackling musculoskeletal challenges through prototyping and simulation. The utilization of SolidWorks for model creation and subsequent simulations enabled us to test our designs under simulated forces. This iterative process, combining digital modeling with real-world forces, enhanced our proficiency in practical problem-solving and design optimization.

Origami-Inspired Simulation

The project introduced a unique facet of exploring origami-inspired approaches for biomedical applications, as demonstrated by Ahmed et al. (2021). Simulating origami structures not only introduced creativity into our problem-solving approach but also honed our ability to explore unconventional ideas for musculoskeletal health solutions. This exploration highlighted the potential of origami-inspired structures in addressing musculoskeletal challenges.

Physical Prototyping Through Laser Cutting and 3D Printing

A significant transition was taking our designs from the digital realm to physical prototypes using laser cutting and 3D printing technologies. This hands-on experience equipped us with practical skills in translating digital designs into real-world, functional prototypes, allowing us to visualize and test our ideas in a tangible form.

Material Research Integration

While the primary focus was on practical application, understanding the biocompatibility and biostability of materials (Chauvel-Lebret et al., 1999; Vondráček & Doležel, 1984) was integral. Informed by this research, we made informed material choices during the prototyping phase. Integrating material considerations into the hands-on aspects of the project underscored the importance of a holistic approach to solution development, ensuring that our designs were not only innovative but also practical and safe.

Simulating Forces and Iterative Design Refinement

A pivotal role in design optimization was played by simulations that tested our models against simulated forces. This process of iterative design refinement based on simulated scenarios strengthened our grasp of biomechanics and instilled a systematic approach to problem-solving. The ability to refine designs based on simulated outcomes is a valuable skill in ensuring the practical viability of solutions, bridging the gap between theoretical concepts and real-world applications.

Interdisciplinary Collaboration

The project fostered interdisciplinary collaboration, bringing together skills in biomechanics, design, and material science. This collaborative environment provided a holistic perspective on musculoskeletal challenges, emphasizing the importance of diverse skill sets in developing comprehensive solutions. By combining expertise from various fields, we were able to approach problems from multiple angles, leading to more innovative and effective solutions.


This project transcended theoretical exploration, becoming a journey of translating ideas into tangible solutions. From simulating origami-inspired structures to physically prototyping models using cutting-edge technologies, the experience enriched our skillset in practical problem-solving, design thinking, and interdisciplinary collaboration. As we reflect on this project, we carry forward not just an understanding of musculoskeletal health challenges but a repertoire of skills ready for application in real-world problem-solving, enabling us to contribute meaningfully to the field of musculoskeletal engineering and design.