Our initial explorations of tensegrities have helped us to get our heads around what's involved with conceiving and making these structures.
Here are a few examples of the types of tensegrity we've made to get started:
One of the very first tensegrities we made was a famous type, called an 'icosahedron'. An icosahedron is a 3D shape made up of 20 equilateral triangles.
To make this, we used 6 'struts' (wooden sticks) with elastic bands wrapped around the ends, in between pins which held them in place. Once we had these elements, it was a case of joining them together. This can be a tricky process, as the forces involved are constantly trying to fling everything apart, but once the final shape is reached, the forces balance and the whole structure becomes stable.
The icosahedron is probably the most recognised type of tensegrity - it has many symmetries and is generally considered to be a satisfying and beautiful shape. We have used this in a number of workshops as an introduction to tensegrities.
The octahedron is a slightly simpler shape to make than the icosahedron. Made up of only 8 equilateral triangles, we have to use 3 struts, and 12 cables to put it together.
It has a lot of similarities to the icosahedron, being made up of perpendicular struts.