Cyber-Physical Agent-Based Models for Swarm Construction

4.10.2023 - 5.10.2023 | ICD Workshop
Advances in Architectural Geometry 2023 (AAG), University of Stuttgart, Germany

Samuel Leder, Tobias Schwinn, Lasath Siriwardena, Mathias Maierhofer

Cyber-Physical Agent-Based Models for Swarm Construction
Advances in Architectural Geometry (AAG) 2023 Workshop

The use of agent-based modeling and simulation (ABMS) to study the dynamics of complex systems has increased significantly among various scientific fields in the last decades. The application of ABMS in disciplines related to Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) has specifically seen a rise for its ability to capture the various levels of complexity inherent to the field, leading to more sustainable building designs and construction processes. In parallel to the increasing investigation of ABMS in architecture, there is a growing interest in collective robotic construction (CRC). CRC involves the utilization of small, generally custom mobile robots for the assembly of structures, which have increasing robustness, adaptivity and level of autonomy compared to existing proposals for automation in construction. Recognizing the potential impacts and fundamental link of the two approaches, the workshop will focus on cyber-physical agent-based models for swarm construction. In more detail, participants of this workshop will: (i) learn the theoretical concepts of ABMS, (ii) be introduced to and explore a software framework for experimentation with agent-based systems for design and fabrication processes and (iii) participate in the implementation of a cyber-physical fabrication loop for the control of a wheeled robot CRC system (see Figures) at the Distributed Robotic Platform of the Large Scale Construction Robotics Laboratory in Waiblingen

In the first half of the workshop, participants will be introduced to ABMS in general and then more specifically to approaches to translating architectural construction systems into digital agent systems. This will be done with hands-on tutorials in Rhino3D/Grasshopper using ICD’s interactive agent-based modeling framework ABxM. Further information about the framework and a download link can be found here. The second part of the workshop will involve the transferring of principles learned from digital explorations of ABMS to a physical mobile robotic system. An agent-based model derived from the iconic flocking example will be provided to the participants as a template for further development of custom behaviors for the physical robots. These custom behaviors will rely on the collection of sensor information external to the digital simulation. After a series of digital experiments, the participants will be involved in the implementation of their models for the design and control of the physical mobile robots. As such, the workshop participants should have advanced knowledge of Grasshopper and be comfortable with programming in C# or Python.

This workshop is relevant to the themes of digital design and simulation, and novel fabrication techniques that are highlighted for AAG 2023. During the introduction and experimentation with ABxM, the participants will learn how ABMS can be utilized for the creation of complex architectural geometries. This will include showcasing how geometric investigation can be explore by providing examples from research at the ICD and helping the participants to develop their own models of architectural systems. Participants will also learn how to transfer notions of behavioral systems to physical robotic systems for real-time operation, a promising approach for the deployment of novel robotic construction automation systems. In such, the participants will become familiar with notions of bottom-up design processes, in which path planning or choreography of the robots is derived through the interactions they make with each other and their environment. Another topic addressed in this workshop will be the processing of sensing information and the discussion of how such information can affect physical fabrication systems. Therefore, the target audience of this workshop would be relatively broad. However, it is probably best suited for members in the AEC industry who are interested in ABMS, CRC, or more generally automation in construction.


Link to Workshop

Institute for Computational Design and Construction (ICD), University of Stuttgart

Samuel Leder, Tobias Schwinn, Lasath Siriwardena, Mathias Maierhofer

Organized and Supported by

Cluster of Excellence Integrative Computational Design and Construction for Architecture (IntCDC)

Advances in Architectural Geometry 2023 (AAG)

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