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Not very successful in the architecture of mankind, tensegrities may play a major role in the architecture of nature.
In this small movie you can see between Tom Flemons and Stephen Levin where Stephen explains that according to his biotensegrity theory this tensegrity-icosahedron is the final element or the building block of nature.
is an orthopedic surgeon with great interest in Biotensegrity. In the movie he uses Tom's tensegrities to explain that an "icosahedron-tensegrity building block" is different from a normal brick. When you build a wall with normal bricks you just pile up the bricks and there is no problem to stop somewhere halfway the building process. Half a wall is just functioning as half a wall, no more no less. Also all the bricks in half that wall are independent. None of them "knows" that the wall is unfinished.
Building an organism with "tensegrity-icosahedron-bricks" is a different thing, because all the tensegrities are interconnected. This means that half an organism can not function as half that organism, because every "tensegrity-brick" needs and feels all the other "tensegrity-bricks". For example a force on the outside of the organism will affect what's going on at the inside.
In order to understand what Levin means you could buy a skwish and experience why a tensegrity-icosahedron is an entirely different building block compared to a normal brick. Then you feel that when you push on a strut, the entire structure deforms. If you don't want to buy one, you can make an icosahedron-brick yourself. You can find the strut-string ratio at the bottom of page .
Tom Flemons has his own interesting site called with beautiful tensegrity models like a vertebral mast and a leg-foot-construction. On the site also an essay (20 pages) called "The Geometry of Anatomy - the Bones of Tensegrity".
In this essay Tom Flemons describes his practical search for tensegrity models within the human body. Here, one passage from his essay:
Also the essay includes beautiful pictures. For instance one in which two tensegrities are projected on the bone structure of a human knee. In the end of his essay Tom says:
Stephen Levin's site is also worth reading and it is nice he refers to another biotensegrity-icon: .
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Tensegrities have quite a few characteristics that make them attractive for construction building. For instance, one can "capture" a lot of space with only a few masts and cables and this makes it a very economic construction technique. These masts and cables can easily be send to the construction site where the parts can be assembled as some sort of do-it-yourself kit. In the article Irving J. Oppenheim writes:
The module structure of tensegrities seems to make them fit for the creation of giant structures, like domes and bridges and the use of cables makes these structures resilient and very qualified to resist any violent nature attack like earthquakes and hurricanes.
In his dissertation gives a complete overview of all advantages tensegrity structures have compared to conventional building techniques. In all fairness Jáuregui does not forget to mention the disadvantages as well, like the complex force distribution in the structure and the complicated mast - cable connection. But tensegrity specialists like Anthony Pugh, Rene Motro, Robert Skelton, Ariel Hanaor en Robert Burkhardt have seen enough reason to make thorough studies of tensegrities and their architectonic possibilities.
A few studies concern the applications of tensegrities in special circumstances. For example, has written a dissertation at the Norwegian University (Marine Technology) and in his abstract he writes: has written his doctoral thesis about at the University of Stockholm. The pictures below are from his dissertation and show a foldable antenna.