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D-Stix stack of six octahedrons       ray trace of tensegrity tower beside octahelix stack

On June 19, 1981, I built a stack of octahedrons using my D-Stix connectors. A photo of a reconstruction of the result is above to the left. It was an interesting structure to behold. I was particularly taken by the three left-handed and three right-handed helices woven together. The ray trace above to the right attempts to make the helices a little clearer; show the relation between the tower and the octahelix; and give an idea of the relationship of the sphere model of the stack to the stick model. In examining the stack, it was apparent that the alternating triangle strategy for generating tensegrity grids I'd learned about in Geodesic Math could be applied to this structure. I did so, and the resulting tensegrity is represented in the next photo.

In response to my octahelix, Adrian Rossiter sent the following octahelix he designed:

another helix composed of face-bonded octahedrons
Helix Composed of Face-Bonded Octahedrons by Adrian Rossiter

And randome inventor Dick Fischbeck contributed yet another helix of which he states: "This model can also be understood as a five octahedron helix since every tetrahedron has a corresponding octahedron."

another helix composed of tetrahedral radii
Helix Composed of Tetrahedrons by Dick Fischbeck

I recently saw a poster with Albert Einstein and his quote "imagination is more important than knowledge". (For myself, I think I would have said "imagination is as important as knowledge".) It takes me less imagination to see a helix in Adrian's construction than in mine, and more imagination to see an octahelix (or even tetrahedrons) in Dick's construction.

You can find my octahelix in all the tensegrity viewers.


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