Larger tensegrities begin to run up against limits imposed by weight and material strength. The Floating Logs sculpture for example weighs approximately 1000 lbs yet the tensional forces required to ‘pull’ it together exceed two tonnes. The larger the structure the lighter and stronger the materials need to be and the more fail safe the tensional components and linkages.
The Vertebral Mast shows that the spine can be modeled as a tetrahedral based tensegrity mast. While individual vertebrae somewhat resemble stellated tetrahedrons (particularly- thoracic vertebrae) However this is a highly abstract model. The suspensory forces carried by ligaments, tendons, and fascia associated with the spine that suspend and cushion the weight of the torso are more complex than the simple tension net that supports this model.
The Tensegrity wheel demonstrates in principle that a complex toroid such as a bicycle wheel can be completely modeled as a tensegrity. In this version there is no continuous compression or shear forces operating. At the molecular level and smaller, all structure can be understood to cohere tensegrally. This model macroscopically shows forces that in actuality are microscopic.
This tensegrity dragon, built in 1988 was an early attempt to ‘knit’ various geometries together, incorporating helical tensegrity masts for the tail torso and neck and linking these together with tensegrity spheres for the pelvis, shoulder and head. Legs are easily extruded out of appropriate facets employing addition mast geometries.