Cyber Physical Macro Material as a UAV [re]Configurable Architectural System

Conference paper


The research presented in this paper describes a new strategy for deploying a cyber-physical macro material combined with aerial construction robots as a reconfigurable architecture. The resulting architectural system is capable of autonomous rearrangement and stagnant operation driven by behavioral design patterns rather than a singular robotic assembly or construction method.

The central part of the paper describes the functional framework for applying the system to a self-supporting roof canopy where the material is comprised of discrete, lightweight, polyhedron shaped, carbon fiber units with onboard sensing, processing, and communication. The material is autonomously reconfigured by calling and coupling with task-specific UAV builders. Programming and hardware for intra- and inter-material, and builder communication and user interaction are described. The system’s live decision making, interaction, and continuous reconfiguration based on programmatic input are outlined. The cyber-physical framework is produced and shown in 1:1 functional prototype.

Three potential behavioral scenarios applying the system as a new type of architecture are outlined: adaptive behavior, interactive behavior, and learning behavior. Further, the programming of the existing framework using machine learning and artificial intelligence is proposed as a future development. In conclusion, developments of the system and the impact and disruption of architectural design, planning, and construction processes are proposed.


Cyber-physical architecture Digital materials Robotic architecture Reconfigurable architecture Adaptable architecture Programmable matter Robotic materials 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Computational Design and ConstructionUniversity of StuttgartStuttgartGermany

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