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Tensegrity is a 3D structure based on envelopes and struts, derived from the words tension and integrity. The skeleton, fibrous connective tissues, and skeletal muscle are among the components that form the body. These structures have an interwoven relationship of tension and compression which maintains form and function. The concept has been used to help explain how stresses at one point in the body can lead to referred pain and help inform functional approaches to treating musculoskeletal disorders. It is a competing model to the lever system for explaining biomechanics.


"Tensegrity", a term coined by R. Buckminster Fuller, is a blend of the words 'tension' and 'integrity'. It describes a unique systemic structure devised by his student, artist Kenneth Snelson, using struts and cables."

Snelson’s definition states, “Tensegrity describes a closed structural system composed of a set of three or more elongate compression struts within a network of tension tendons, the combined parts mutually supportive in such a way that the struts do not touch one another, but press outwardly against nodal points in the tension network to form a firm, triangulated, prestressed, tension and compression unit.” -- by Kenneth Snelson”. The TensegrityWiki has more definitions here:


Other videos - Presentation by Dr Brad Fullerton - build your own tensegrity system

External Resources



Thank you to Susan Lowell de Solórzano for feedback on this article