HRC workshop at IaaC: "Considering Human-Centric HRC through the lens of Feminist Technoscience"

May 28, 2024 /

Institute for Advanced Architecture, Catalunia 2024 - Barcelona, Spain

From May 27th-June 1st ICD Research Associates Gili Ron, Samuel Leder and Lasath Siriwardena, with the support of Nestor Beguin (IaaC), will lead a workshop on "Considering Human-Centric HRC through the lens of Feminist Technoscience" to the students of the Master in Robotics and Advanced Construction  (MRAC) program.

A brief description of the workshop is as follows:

Intuitive communication is the current focus of interest of Human-Robot Collaboration research (HRC), which aims to ease automation implementation and improve efficiency. Intuitive communication in HRC can improve workers' feelings of safety and trust in automation, support diversity, increase resilience to deficiencies, and boost productivity. This is all the more relevant in prefabrication and construction contexts: to counter a persistent shortage of skilled workers and to support workers with much tacit knowledge and know-how in craft and material but can differ in their levels of technology affinity. 

A major design challenge is designing and validating HRC for diverse demographics: How do designers overcome biases, propose solutions that cater to an actual and not an assumed need, and foster equitable futures? This includes questions like:

What are the difficulties that workers face in the work environment? How can HRC design solutions better cater to these difficulties? HRC tools and interfaces enable equal access to varied demographics, providing them control over the process and parameters that support their comfort?

This workshop delves into HRC within the construction context. It begins with participants engaging in a hands-on HRC setup for timber assembly, where humans and cobots collaborate to construct a timber tower. Throughout the workshop, the ICD’s Feminist Technoscience (FTS) framework will guide reevaluating these collaborative processes, promoting an inclusive, ethical approach to technology design and implementation.

Further, the workshop introduces behavioral fabrication techniques, enabling participants to develop responsive robotic behaviors through meaningful interactions with human collaborators. Using the ICD’s ABxM framework, these behaviors will be digitally tested and refined based on sensor feedback before being applied in real-world collaborative construction tasks. The workshop culminates in a presentation and discussion to assess the effectiveness and innovation of the HRC designs developed by participants.

By the end of this workshop, attendees will have conceptual and practical insights into HRC through the lens of FTS, as well as the skills to create and implement agent-based models in architectural contexts. This hands-on experience aims to equip participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to transform the construction industry through enhanced human-robot collaboration.

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