November 6, 2021 /

Co-Designing Material-Robot Construction Behaviors: Teaching distributed robotic systems to leverage active bending for light-touch assembly of bamboo bundle structures

Lecture
ACADIA 2021 – Realignments: toward critical computation

On 5 November Nicolas Kubail Kalousdian and Grzegorz Łochnicki will be presenting their paper, "Co-Designing Material-Robot Construction Behaviors: Teaching distributed robotic systems to leverage active bending for light-touch assembly of bamboo bundle structures" at ACADIA 2021 Online.

This paper presents research on designing distributed, robotic construction systems in which robots are taught construction behaviors relative to the elastic bending of natural building materials. Using this behavioral relationship as a driver, the robotic system is developed to deal with the unpredictability of natural materials in construction and further to engage their dynamic characteristics as methods of locomotion and manipulation during the assembly of actively bent structures. Such an approach has the potential to unlock robotic building practice with rapid-renewable materials, whose short crop cycles and small carbon footprints make them particularly important inroads to sustainable construction. The research is conducted through an initial case study in which a mobile robot learns a control policy for elastically bending bamboo bundles into designed configurations using deep reinforcement learning algorithms. This policy is utilized in the process of designing relevant structures, and for the in-situ assembly of these designs. These concepts are further investigated through the co-design and physical prototyping of a mobile robot and the construction of bundled bamboo structures. 

This research demonstrates a shift from an approach of absolute control and predictability to behavior-based methods of assembly. With this, materials and processes that are often considered too labor-intensive or unpredictable can be reintroduced. This reintroduction leads to new insights in architectural design and construction, where design outcome is uniquely tied to the building material and its assembly logic. This highly material-driven approach sets the stage for developing an effective, sustainable, light-touch method of building using natural materials.

Further information can be found here: ACADIA 2021

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