In several areas of biomechanical literature I have read, the concept of "tensegrity" has arisen. Definitions are as follows:

“The integrity of a stable structure balanced by continuous structural members (cables) in tension and discontinuous structural members (struts) in compression.” (Zhang, 1)

and then

“A tensegrity structure is recognized by its distinct set of compression elements (struts) that appear to float within a network of tensioned cables.” (Scarr)

I am highly skeptical about its applicability. Some authors (e.g. Evan Osar) suggest that tensegrity can be applied to the spine. However, the spine fundamentally does not fit the definitions provided above because its non-tensile components are connected / touching. Tensegrity involves floating

My Question:

Are there any areas of the body that would potentially qualify under this definition of tensegrity?

One example I can think of is the suspension of organs in the body, but I am unsure about this.


Osar, Evan. Corrective Exercise Solutions to Common Shoulder and Hip Dysfunction. BookBaby, 2012.

Scarr, Graham. Biotensegrity: The Structural Basis of Life. Handspring Publishing, United Kingdom, 2014.

Zhang, Jing Yao, and Makoto Ohsaki. Tensegrity structures: form, stability, and symmetry. Vol. 6. Springer, 2015.

  • $\begingroup$ Do you really mean suspended in air? Because there aren't structures suspended into the air-filled spaces in the body. $\endgroup$ – kmm Jun 19 '17 at 1:54

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