optimal present wrapping program   (+9)  [vote for, against]
the engineered approach to wrapping presents

This is a computer program that computes an optimal wrapping strategy (i.e. using the least amount of wrapping paper) on the basis of: a) the size/shape of each present; b) the length/width of available wrapping paper.

The size/shape of each present is either: 1) dimensions entered manually (for regularly shaped presents); or b) selected from a database of package types (for less regular present shapes).

Other options can be chosen such as: diagonal wrapping allowed (this often minimizes wrapping paper needed); wrapping paper overlap pattern match (so the wrapping appears seamless); origami style wrapping (minimizes the number of scissor cuts and also the amount of sticky tape, but increases the difficulty and amount of wrapping paper).

BTW, this idea is not intended to reduce consumption of precious resources, save time or save money (even if it does so by some minuscule amount). It's purely about making wrapping presents more fun for engineers and like minded folk. Merry Christmas, HB.

N.B. This is my 100th idea on HB (according to an idea count view I set up a while ago). Do I get a biscuit or something?
-- xaviergisz, Dec 21 2009

Carol Vorderman explains how maths can help us with parallel parking. http://www.bbc.co.u...hs_of_life_wrapping
(Might not be visible from outside UK) [Dub, Dec 21 2009]

How to wrap like a mathematician. http://justatheory....ke-a-mathematician/
[wagster, Dec 21 2009]

Pottedstu's infamous tape hat Wrapping_20hat
Is this what you were looking for [blissmiss}? [pocmloc, Dec 21 2009]

+ for the 100th! this is an ok idea too. I am just cheap so I always look for minimal use of paper and tape and ribbon.
-- dentworth, Dec 21 2009

Packagers of things likely to be presents could use this and just print the paper dimensions on the box. All we need now is wrapping paper with a faint grid printed on the inside, lines 5cm apart. Would help those who can't cut in straight lines too. +
-- shudderprose, Dec 21 2009

I read an article recently on mathematical approaches to wrapping presents (link). It's very useful if you have to wrap presents of spherical or cylindrical nature, especially those n-dimensional spheres and cylinders which tend to confuse the sales assistance in hyperdepartment stores.

Happy century [xav].
-- wagster, Dec 21 2009

// a gadget that ... which deposits 3 cm lengths of sticky tape .. ? //

It's called a "Butler". Not cheap, but very useful.
-- 8th of 7, Dec 21 2009

Thanks pocmloc, where'd you find it?

Happy Anniversary, [xaviergisz] :-)
-- blissmiss, Dec 21 2009

random, halfbakery