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FIBERBOTS: Design and Digital Fabrication of Tubular Structures Using Robot Swarms

  • Markus Kayser
  • Levi Cai
  • Christoph Bader
  • Sara FalconeEmail author
  • Nassia Inglessis
  • Barrak Darweesh
  • João Costa
  • Neri Oxman
Conference paper

Abstract

Rapidly increasing demands to enhance speed and safety for on-site and site-specific construction drive the need to develop collaborative and autonomous systems. Such systems generally involve the use of retrofitted gantry and robot arm systems, which have size constraints and are computationally complex to use in collaboration with other machines. This paper describes an alternative multi-robot system built from the ground up to enable collaborative and site-specific construction. The strategy simplifies design workflows while simultaneously maintaining structural, environmental, and robot dynamic constraints. This system of ‘swarm fabricators’ enables robotic agents to operate in parallel, digitally fabricating independent tubular forms. Each robot controls its position allowing the system to effectively ‘grow’ a large-scale woven architecture. The robots fabricate by pulling fiber and resin from ground-based storage and winding a composite around their own bodies. Additional sections of a composite tube are appended upon each other, starting from a base. The system relies on an environmentally informed flocking-based strategy to design the structure and inform the robots’ trajectories.

Keywords

Swarm robotics Autonomous construction Site-specific construction Composite fabrication Adaptive fabrication Fabrication-aware design 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to acknowledge Robert Ricardo I Garriga for fabrication work in constructing the robots and base structure. Thank you to Melinda Szabo for her instrumental work building the software interface and implementation of networking to the robots. This project was made possible in part through generous contributions from GETTYLAB.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Markus Kayser
    • 1
  • Levi Cai
    • 1
  • Christoph Bader
    • 1
  • Sara Falcone
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nassia Inglessis
    • 1
  • Barrak Darweesh
    • 1
  • João Costa
    • 1
  • Neri Oxman
    • 1
  1. 1.The Mediated Matter GroupMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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