Original 12-strut Tensegrity Puzzle
When I was around eight years old in the late 1960s, I'd ordered a wooden
stick "puzzle" from the Sears Roebuck catalog that had a hand-blown
glass sphere in the middle. I now know that it was actually a 12-strut
tensegrity sphere, but not knowing that at the time, it was the photograph
in the catalog that was intriguing to me for its amazing pattern. The
term tensegrity was not mentioned in the catalog, and there were no
instructions on the secret of its patterned construction, nor notes
on Buckminster Fuller, nor any other leads to further information whatsoever.
Needless to say, it wasn't long before the sphere was just a pile of
struts that I could no longer re-assemble. Then, in the 1980s, after
studying the work of Fuller, the memory of this "puzzle" suddenly came
back to me. "Could that puzzle from long ago have been a tensegrity
structure?" I wondered. By some miracle, upon my next trip home, I found
the unassembled pieces still stored in a cabinet. Within a few minutes,
I'd reassembled the sphere with the glass ball inside. Now I was obsessed.
I had to build more tensegrity spheres.
You can start building your very own tensegrity structure today! See
George Hart's amazingly cool
Straw Tensegrity Structures Page.
Jim Leftwich / Orbit Interaction
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to My 18" 270-Strut Tensegrity Sphere