Statically balanced systems are mechanisms that are in equilibrium over a continuous range of positions, and thus are neutrally stable, or have zero stiffness. These structures require no energy to move (ignoring friction forces), and are hence used for energy-efficient design in for instance rehabilitation technology.
Tensegrities are pin-jointed structures, consisting of compression and tension members (bars and cables respectively), that require a state of selfstress to be stable. There are known examples of tensegrity structures constructed with zero-free-length springs that are statically balanced. These combined structures were termed statically balanced tensegrity mechanisms.
During my MSc. thesis I have investigated the Theory and Design of Statically Balanced Tensegrity Mechanisms, to see whether there existed more of these structures and how to find, and build them. The results of my efforts can be found on this page.
I defended my MSc. thesis and graduated on 17 February 2006.Mark Schenk