Human Bodies and NASA landing robots

The spine is often likened to a column. Similar to a pile of blocks, stability is found when the parts can rest on top of each other.  With that stability, the body needs less effort to move and be oriented.. This concept, although important and interesting is unfortunately very static. The spine is mobile! It can move,flex, extend, side bend, rotate or do any combination of these movements. Not to mention, that when we turn the pile of blocks on its side, they all fall apart, where as the body does not.

tensegrityguy.jpg

Tensegrity offers a more dynamic model of the body. When turned on its side, the tensional parts keep everything in place. When this is applied to the human body, our bones represent the rigid structures and our fascia form the tensional net that connects it all together.

Tensegrity models can also explain why the body can withstand enourmous amounts of pressure and sometimes opposing forces. According to present day biomechanical engineers, simple actions such as catching a fish on a 3-meter rod would fracture a human beings’ vertebrae and pull his arm off. When walking, our sesamoid bones in our feet would be crushed with every step. However, this does not happen because (like in a tensegrity model) the forces are distributed along the entire system. The conclusion is that our bodies are capable of functioning beyond the sum of their parts.