The Evolution of … Cardboard?!

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When I was a kid, a cardboard box was a cardboard box. No longer!

Those days, a cardboard box consisted of several rectangles folded over to create an enclosure. An unusually complicated box might have one to three flaps you could tuck inside.

But that was pretty much it.

You still see boxes like that. But nowadays, more and more cardboard boxes are high-tech works of art. They more closely resemble origami dragons or transformer robots than boxes. For example:

Cardboard box

Cardboard box or transformer robot?

The box pictured above is pretty normal, by today’s standards. Notice the inordinate number of panels, folds, holes, flaps, nips, tucks, cuts, and cutouts it took to engineer and manufacture this wonder.

Any day now, we’ll see cardboard boxes infused with carbon nanotubes and 3D-printed, solar-powered, self-aware micro-circuitry capable of routing itself to the right address. And doing God only knows what other menial and not-so-menial tasks never before envisioned for cardboard.

Or maybe I’ve just been thinking too much. What do you think?

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