Folding is the process or reducing the volume occupied by a structure. Folding tensegrities requires a different approach from conventional or pantographic folding.
Tensegrity Folding Classifications
Folding can be divided into the following three steps (following Motro)
- Algorithm or mechanism selection
- Verification of system compatibility during folding
- Stabilizing or re-stressing the system after folding
Three modes may also be abstracted, again following Motro
- Strut mode
- Tendon mode
- Mixed mode
Motro's Discussion of Folding
Motro notes in his book http://books.google.com/books?id=6aWtlMqwdnsC&pg=PA166&lpg=PA166&dq=%22tensegrity+folding%22&source=bl&ots=rYDI3Cd3pl&sig=8eSKjrws1iecWBFIGKYhleGB2WE&hl=en&ei=EOsiTKWkNsfKjAfhmM2tDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22tensegrity%20folding%22&f=false%7CTensegrity]] , chapter 6-2 "Folding Principle" that folding requires modifying element lengths and granting the corresponding degrees of freedom to the vertices. As the tensegrity is folded the nodes follow a trajectory through space.