Monday, March 29, 2010

Workshop Scenarios

Glenn unveiled a Flextegrity kit of 100 pieces at Wanderers the other day. I missed the event, heard favorable reports. The kit provides a step-by-step sequence from one icosahedral hub to a four-frequency tetrahedron of 35 icosahedra. The resulting construction is sturdy and all weather. The hubs are fixed in place with customized stretched springs, do not touch one another.

One might call this "floating compression" however the springs also serve a compressive function under load, meaning we do not file this applied material under the "tensegrity" heading.

Students may wish to compare and contrast, as tensegrity is an important concept in contemporary art and engineering. The title by R. Motro is a part of the Flextegrity company library.

Sam has been running some numbers, on what it might cost to keep more of version 3 coming through the pipeline. B2C sales of kits to end users, perhaps bundled with a workshop might emerge as a co-venture.

For the time being, supply is limited and the kits are for workshop instructors.

Glenn's forte is what I call Neolithic Math, which involves working with tools, including hand-made ones. His brand of math provides a strong hands-on component consistent with learning various skills and crafts. His workshop includes such raw materials as antler, shell, many kinds of stone.

Flextegrity adds a more futuristic component (Martian Math), plus is a one of a kind, giving us a niche. My time slot, in the Linus Pauling house board room, or in a computer lab, has tended to feature commercially available supplies, along with free and open source software.

I am looking forward to adding more flextegrity to the mix, as I move about Portland. You might find Glenn and I at some coffee shop near PSU, assembling icosahedra and passing out our Radical Math (rad math) literature pointing back to these workshop opportunities.

I also have a tensegrity sculpture, Barrel Tower, a gift from Kenneth Snelson himself. I consider it too valuable to lug it around as an educational supply however.

Schools sending their teachers our way have an interest in joining a more world class network wherein tetrahedral accounting and 60-degree coordination (e.g. graphene) inform the geometry curriculum at all levels.

Schools which include more of this heritage (including Fuller Projections in some contexts) have a more cosmopolitan aura. Portland's international business community tends to encourage schools to move in this direction.