Origami-Inspired Building Blocks Let You Create Shape-Shifting Sculptures


[Narrator] These cubes? They’re no ordinary building blocks. They’re built to collapse, expand, and change shapes infinitely. And they’re called Ghostkubes. This is Erik Aberg, the
inventor behind them. His invention was inspired
by the art of paper folding, also known as origami. But there’s something
else that inspired Erik: juggling. As a professional juggler and performer, he wanted to add something
special to his usual routines. And he found that origami was
the perfect place to start. With its intricate folding patterns, origami has tons of
potential for movement. So he set out to build his own system that would fold and unfold endlessly, just like in origami. His prototypes called
for building materials a little sturdier than paper. Luckily, he had the perfect thing on hand: casino dice. He connected all those
tiny identical blocks together using adhesive tape. And once he had a structure that moved, he was able to start re-creating
that same system with wood. Aberg: And I hadn’t predicted
the way it could move in advance. That was something that was
generated by the process. [Narrator] And that mysterious,
unpredictable movement sparked the name Ghostkubes. All of his original designs were built with the idea of performance in mind. That’s why each cube had
a hole in the center. That way, a juggling ball could move from one place to another and back again. When he realized those holes
made the blocks lighter and easier to hold on to, he built the rest of them the same way. The only difference now is he makes them with plastic instead of wood. This way, they easily
snap together or apart, which means the number of
cubes you can add is limitless. Lately, you can find Erik
traveling around the world performing with Ghostkubes. And he’s been crowdfunding his systems so he can one day produce
them on a much larger scale. He wants them to be a tool for creativity and inspiration for everyone. Aberg: My guess is that
the number of variations that you can create with
this method is infinite. If I find one variation
that has two layers, I can just keep adding layers, so three, four, five, and so forth. And there’s not really a ceiling to that. [Narrator] What would you
build with these blocks?

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