MIT Media Lab/House_n

Origami Desk
an interactive cookbook for the kitchen counter


Wendy Ju
Rebecca Hurwitz
Tilke Judd
Jennifer Yoon

Leonardo Bonanni

Richard Fletcher

Matthew Reynolds

E. Rehmi Post

Origami Desk is a collaboration between House_n and the Media Lab at MIT.


Origami Desk is an interactive installation where users learn to fold paper into beautiful shapes. Origami Desk improves on the inscrutable origami diagrams we all know and love by showing videos that demonstrate what the hands should do, projecting lines onto the paper indicating where the folds should be, and monitoring the paper folding to give the budding origami artist feedback if their folding should go awry.

Origami Desk utilizes projection, electric field sensing, and low-cost radio-frequency identification tags to enable computes to break free from the CRT-keyboard-mouse interaction paradigm. These technologies allow interactions to transpire in the user's space, eliminating the need for the metaphoric mapping between the digital world and our physical one.

Origami Desk is a powerful embodiment of how real-world graphics, interaction design and innovative sensing technologies can be integrated to create interactive environments centered around the active human user.

[project proposal ]

[images of prototype structure]


Origami Desk will be exhibited at SIGGRAPH 2001, Los Angeles, this coming August.



Cooperstock, J.R., S. Fels, W. Buxton, K. Smith. Reactive Environments. Communications of the ACM, 40, 9 (1997) 65-73.

Ju, W., R. Hurwitz, T. Judd, B. Lee. CounterActive: An Interactive Cookbook for the Kitchen Counter. Extended Abstracts of CHI 2001 (Seattle, April 2001) p.269-270

Omojola, O., E.R. Post, M.D. Hancher, Y. Maguire, R. Pappu, B. Schoner, P.R. Russo, R. Fletcher and N. Gershenfeld. An installation of interactive furniture. IBM Systems Journal, 39, 3/4 (Fall 2000), 861-879.

Nielson, J. Noncommand User Interfaces. Communications of the ACM 36, 4 (1993) 82-99.

Riley, T. The Un-Private House. Henry N. Abrams, NY. 1999. 152 pp.

Underkoffler, J. B. Ullmer, H. Ishii. Emancipated Pixels: Real-World Graphics in the Luminous Room. Proceedings of SIGGRAPH '99 (Los Angeles, August 1999) ACM Press, 385-392.

Want, R., P. Fishkin, A. Gujar, B. Harrison. Bridging Physical and Virtual Worlds with Electronic Tags. CHI '99 (Pittsburgh PA, May 1999) ACM Press, 370-77.



For more information, contact Wendy Ju.




Un-Private House


MIT Media Lab

Personal Information Architecture

Physics and Media


Io-gami by Casey Reas

Origami Mathematics

British Origami Society

Origami mailing list

Last updated 5/15/2001 by Wendy Ju.
c.2001 MIT Media Lab