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Floating, a term most people associate with buoyancy on water, is used by many tensegrity researchers to conceptualize the relationship of the compression and tension members in a structure.

Floating Islands Of Compression

Snelson calls tensegrity floating islands of compression. In addition to being an accurate description, it enables him to avoid using the term "tensegrity," as the latter was coined by Fuller and serves as a painful reminder to Snelson of how Fuller did not credit him properly for his invention.

In contrast, Fuller avoided the term floating islands, and reserved the term "floating" for describing the illusion promoted by tensegrity, rather than to describe the activity of the compression members in the tensegrity structure. For example, his proposed Geosphere was to be a nucleated ball in a tension net (tensegrity). He said in "Everything I Know day 9, " I wanted to do was to build, then, a miniature earth, mounted from those rocks, having a mast, and mounted in cables it would weight so very little that the cables would be really invisible and it would seem to be floating out there, look like a miniature earth that's come in close to... the United Nations building." See also lightness.

Floating Bones

Earnhardt, in his movement therapy lectures, proposes that "floating" is the ideal metaphor for comprehending the structural alignment of bones in our own human bodies. See the lecture below, " Floating Bones 102: Rules for Loosely-Coupled Structures (Like You)"