Robots in Architecture

Announcing Rob|Arch 2016

 

We are thrilled to announce that Rob|Arch 2016 will take place shortly before Easter 2016 in Sydney Australia, with Dagmar Reinhardt and Rob Saunders of the University of Sydney as conference chairs.

They are joined by Marjo Niemelä (University of Sydney), Mari Velonaki and Hank Haeusler (UNSW), Chris Knapp and Jonathan Nelson (Abedian School of Architecture, Bond University), Jane Burry, Roland Snooks, and Nicholas Williams (RMIT), Dave Pigram (UTS), and Tim Schork and Jon McCormack (Monash University) as co-chairs.

 

WORKSHOPS: MARCH 15–17, 2016
CONFERENCE: MARCH 18–19, 2016
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

The adoption of digital fabrication in the creative industries continues to accelerate as the potential for innovation and creative expression using robotics is being harnessed. ROB|ARCH2016 will provide hands-on experience with the most recent robotic technologies as well as a platform for dissemination and an opportunity for researchers and industry to exchange expertise, explore methods, compare techniques and forge new connections.

 

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The organisers of ROB|ARCH2016 invite authors to submit papers with original research relating to the use of robots in architecture, art, and design. The purpose of this year’s conference is to advance the discourse surrounding robotic fabrication and creative robotics in its theme “Trajectories” – towards the integration of human-robot interactions informed by sensor input and real-time feedback in diverse environmental conditions.

Paper Abstract submission: May 15, 2015
Paper submission: June 15, 2015

For details, visit the CALL FOR PAPERS page.

 

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The ROB|ARCH conference series aims to allow practitioners to share expertise, to bring together teams of international researchers, to foster networks, to increase knowledge, and to stimulate innovation. To achieve this aim the ROB|ARCH conferences combine academic presentations with hands-on workshops held in the three days preceding the conference. ROB|ARCH 2012 and 2014 offered workshops from world-class research institutions such as ICD Stuttgart and ETH Zurich, and even Oscar-winning companies such as Bot&Dolly. For 2016 we are again sending out a CALL FOR WORKSHOPS and encourage researcher, industry, and talented individuals to propose a workshop for ROB|ARCH 2016.

Workshop Proposal Submission: April 15th 2015

For details, visit the CALL FOR WORKSHOPS page.

 

Workshop @ ACADIA 2014 | Los Angeles

Better late than never! We’re finally posting the video of our workshop at the previous ACADIA conference!

Last fall we were invited by the ACADIA chair (David Gerber, Alvin Huang, Jose Sanchez) to host a robot workshop at USC as part of the ACADIA conference using their brand-new KUKA robots. Thanks to the awesome support from USC’s robot experts Scott Mitchell and Will Rollins (take a close look at the custom-built robot cart!) the workshop went silky-smooth under the pleasant Californian sun and we were able to fabricate some really beautiful objects within just a few days. Special thanks go of course to the highly motivated participants of the workshop, everyone involved at the conference and USC, as well as to our industry partners KUKA and FIPA!

 

Robot Lab Opening @ University for Arts and Design Linz

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Today we officially celebrated the opening of our new robot lab at the University for Arts and Design Linz, where students of the industrial design program scionic, and in the future also from other programs, will now have access to three KUKA robots, an Agilus, a KR16, and a large KR210 Quantec with 210kg of payload. We were joined by the head of the university, Prof. Kannonier, the KUKA CEE CEO Erich Schober, Christan Binder of SCHUNK-Intec, and Prof. Müller of the JKU Linz. Exciting times are ahead of us!

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Happy Holidays and a successful 2015!!!

Happy Holidays and a great 2015 from all of us at the Association for Robots in Architecture! 2014 has been a great year for us and our partners and we are already very much looking forward to an exciting 2015 (as well as Rob|Arch 2016!)

Barkeeper |versus| KUKA KR6 R900 Agilus

For this year’s Rob|Arch conference on robotic fabrication in architecture, art, and design, the Association for Robots in Architecture teamed up with Absolut and award winning barkeeper Lukas Hochmuth to create a special cocktail for the opening of the conference exhibition.
We captured Lukas’ movements with a 3D-scanner at the Ritz-Carlton bar in Vienna so that we could “replay” them – slightly optimized and adapted – at the Rob|Arch conference in Michigan with a KUKA KR6 R900 industrial robot.
While – unlike Lukas – the robot will not win barkeeping awards any time soon, you can download the robot control data file from robotsinarchitecture.org/agilus-barkeeper and have an expertly shaken cocktail wherever your KUKA may be (use at your own risk).

Project by Robots in Architecture and Absolut using KUKA|prc
Kindly supported by KUKA

KUKA|prc User Spotlight: Artis Engineering

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The community of “creative” robot users is constantly growing, with an increasing number of artists, architects, designers, artisans, makers, and other enthusiasts working with robotic arms. However, there are also larger firms that do not see robotic arms just as a means for production, but as an evolving, multifunctional system that requires research – and the occasional “artistic” application. Therefore, for this KUKA|prc user spotlight we would like to present Artis Engineering, who have been involved in the community since the first Rob|Arch conference in Vienna, 2012. They’re using KUKA|prc and Grasshopper to solve specialized problems that are not covered by industry-standard software.

For the most recent Rob|Arch conference that took place in Michigan a few months ago, Simon Lullin of Artis submitted a video showcasing one of their side-projects. Here’s what Simon has to say about it:

In the following we would like to present a new project which gives us the possibility to program our robot parametrically, with simplicity, by producing an oversized vinyl. To create something comparable to this disc, we came up with a custom made turn-table, and a 7 axis robot. This machine named “KUKA Quantec Ultra” has a range of 3100 mm and a payload of more than 200 kg. This robot is installed upside down on a 10 meter linear rail. The producing firm, named Artis GmbH, is a German partnership, woodworking and engineering company, based in Berlin.

The programming process was completed entirely by means of Grasshopper and plugins such as KUKA|prc, Kangaroo and Firefly. The idea was to record any kind of sound in order to transcribe it on to something physical that we could keep. Initially the programming consisted of a sound recording (in this specific case: the Awolnation song). By processing this sound we generated a curve by extracting peak levels (the loudest frequency level at a given moment). Once the curve is created, the outward movement of the arm can be calculated by means of logarithmic.

Synchronizing the robot movement with beats per minute is something machines are not supposed to be able to do. A wide movement obviously would need more time than a small one; but the previously extracted curve, basically made instantaneous jumps in-between two points. This would require an acceleration that the machine cannot cope with. From there on, we decided to slow down the milling process, mainly by extending the latency of the machine between two almost similar points, so that the trajectory wave could be respected as accurately as possible.

Finally, carrying out the milling process was very simple. The tool started its path at a distance of 100 mm from the center; from there it moved outwards. The turn-table’s rotation slowed down progressively (the table’s peripheral speed had to be maintained proportionally to the distance in-between the rotation center and the tool) in order to allow the movement of the table to correlate with the tool.

We are proud of getting closer to the solution of manufacturing this new product…a robotic arm working together with this unique turn-table…certainly an alternative way to listen to music:

You are watching the birth of music.

Already in 2012 Artis showed their work at Rob|Arch in Vienna. Here’s the video:

What’s especially interesting about Artis’ robot setup is that they’ve got a 1.2 ton robot on a ceiling-mounted linear axis, keeping the entire floor clear and giving them a huge workspace. Enthusiasts will acknowledge the engineering that goes into such a solution, while everyone else will also appreciate a machine that weighs as much as a car, hangs from the ceiling, and moves at 5 m/sec (A1 turning at 105deg/sec at 3100mm radius).
Below you can find a photo-gallery showcasing a few more of Artis’ robotic projects. For more information, go to their homepage at www.artisengineering.de or visit Artis when they celebrate their 20th anniversary at the end of October.


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All images are (c) Artis, 2014. Used with kind permission.

Rob|Arch 2014 Wrap-Up

Rob|Arch 2014 was a GREAT success, we want to thank the conference chairs Wes McGee and Monica Ponce de Leon from the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, as well as their entire team, especially Deniz McGee and Aaron Willette for hosting such a perfect conference. We also want to thank our more than 200 (!!!) attendees from all around the world, especially those who actively contributed workshops and papers to the Rob|Arch community. Finally our thanks go out to our industry partners – main conference sponsor KUKA, main workshop sponsors ABB, as well as Stäubli and Schunk.

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The hard-working workshop-teams were held awake on the 14th and 15th by our media partner Red Bull‘s “Wing Teams” who distributed all flavors of Red Bull, while event partner Absolut really spiced up the exhibition evening-event on the 18th by providing 50 bottles of Absolut and a “Absolut Robots in Architecture” cocktail that was specially created by the award-winning barkeeper Lukas Hochmuth. As you can see, Rob|Arch 2014 had both hands-on and theory, industry and academia, makers and enterprises, scientific conference and party.

We hope to see many of you again in 2016!!!

Photo Galleries

Tagboard - A social media collection of over 250 posts including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Rob|Arch 2014 Conference Gallery - 565 photos by the Taubman College

Rob|Arch 2014 Workshop Gallery – 116 photos by the Association for Robots in Architecture

Robots in Architecture Facebook – many images were posted directly to our Facebook page

Looking Back

Less than two years ago, in December 2012, the Association for Robots in Architecture hosted the first international conference for robotic fabrication in architecture, art, and design. Initially conceptualized as a medium-sized symposium, it became a full-sized conference with 8 conference workshops distributed throughout Europe, with many European institutions hosting US universities such as Harvard doing a workshop at TU Graz, the Taubman College partnering up with TU Delft, and SciArc’s team coming to TU Vienna’s facilities. As such, the idea was to turn that around for Rob|Arch 2014, with the conference taking part in the US and hosting workshops from abroad. Already at Rob|Arch 2012, Wes McGee of the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning expressed interest in hosting the next conference in Ann Arbor. As the world’s largest “architectural” robotic lab, the Taubman College was a logical choice, and we were delighted when Dean Monica Ponce De Leon joined the effort as conference chair alongside Wes, showing the significance of the conference topic, not just for Taubman College but also the architectural community.

When the Call for Workshops went out to academic institutions worldwide there was again a great international resonance from the community, with Carnegie Mellon University joining as workshop host. Finally, eight robot workshops were selected for Rob|Arch 2014, with the Taubman College hosting 4 workshops: a joint workshop on steel-bending with the University of Technology Sydney, a carbon-fibre winding workshop by the University of Stuttgart, a workshop involving sensors and Arduinos by IAAC, and finally a special workshop by Bot & Dolly, who showed some of the programming approaches that were used in projects such as the Oscar-awarded movie Gravity.


KUKA robot workshops hosted at the Taubman College, Ann Arbor

At CMU, three workshops took place: Steambending of wood was explored by CMU, while the University of Innsbruck and Harvard GSD explored phase-change materials. Harvard GSD also teamed up for another workshop with the Graz University of Technology and interfaced a Kinect sensor with an ABB robot. The eight workshop took place not too far at Princeton, where Princeton University and Greyshed worked with Augmented Materiality.


Augmented Materiality Workshop at Princeton using an ABB IRB7600 robot


Informal Material Formation by MaPS Harvard GSD and ITE TU Graz


PhaseChange Workshop by University of Innsbruck, Harvard GSD, and Virginia Tech

Rob|Arch 2014 Awards

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The Rob|Arch community is now reaching a level of maturity where we can look back and see who really influenced the course of things, as well as whom we expect to significantly shape the future of robotic fabrication in architecture, art and design. To honour these individuals as well as company, the Association for Robots in Architecture established a series of awards that were handed out at the Rob|Arch 2014 conference dinner.

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Gramazio & Kohler | Pioneering Achievement Award

for establishing a new field of research

 

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Achim Menges | Pioneering Research Award

for the first robotically fabricated building

 

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Daniel Piker | Community Contribution Award

for providing important tools and new concepts to the community

 

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Stu Shepherd | Pioneering Industry Award

recognizing KUKA for their support of the creative industry

 

Through our sponsors KUKA and ABB, we were also able to award the best paper by a young researcher through the KUKA Young Potential Award, and to support students and individual researchers through the ABB Mobility Grant.

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The KUKA Young Potential Award for the best scientific paper at Rob|Arch 2014 went to Ammar Kalo and Michael Jake Newsum of the University of Michigan and SciArc for their paper Robotic Incremental Sheet Forming.


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Altogether, three ABB Mobility Grants were awarded. We congratulate Nikita Troufanov of SciArc, Alexander Walz, Pedja Gavrilovic, Maximilian Seiferlein, and Beatrice Huff of the University of Innsbruck, and Ahmed Hosny, Jared Friedman, and Amanda Lee of Harvard.

Call for Videos

As part of Rob|Arch, we sent out a Call for Videos to encourage submissions from artists and designers, as well as to give paper submissions the chance to illustrate their projects. More than 20 videos were accepted and shown at both the conference venue as well as at the evening event, where they were met with great interested. They will stay to be available online through the Association for Robots in Architecture’s Vimeo channel. Since Rob|Arch 2014 the videos have been accessed online more than 90.000 times!

Future Benefits

Of course, a conference is not only about showing ones work to the community, but about networking, setting up business deals, and finding new collaborators or employees. As such we were very happy that the range of attendees included CEOs of large robot manufacturers, representatives of several large industry players, and even organizations such as the Robotic Industries Association and the Association for Advancing Automation. We were especially thrilled about the number of startups, makers, and individual artists who either have already bought robots or are looking to invest in robotic technology.

One of the best indications of the success of Rob|Arch may be that three of four demo robots that were set up at Taubman College were sold “on the spot”, in addition to many other sales that will be finalized in the coming months. Many job opening were also promoted, especially by ICD Stuttgart and ETH Zurich who both received significant funding to set up robotic research centers – a DFG grant for a Collaborative Research Centre at Stuttgart and a NFS for Digital Fabrication in Zurich.

Rob|Arch 2014 Book

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The Rob|Arch 2014 publication is available at Springer both as an eBook as well as in physical form. Members of the Association for Robots in Architecture can download it as a free eBook from the protected member section.

Rob|Arch 2016 @ Sydney

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We are extremely thrilled to announce that Rob|Arch 2016 will be hosted at Sydney and chaired by Dagmar Reinhardt and Rob Saunders of the University of Sydney, in collaboration with all other Australian universities that will have robots by 2016, such as RMIT in Melbourne, Bond University in Gold Coast, Technical University of Sydney, Monash University, and the University of Tasmania. It’s already shaping up to be a very special event, so keep the end of 2016 (summer in Australia, winter in Europe and Northern America!) free.

Rob|Arch 2014 has started

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Today marks the second of three days of robot workshops at Rob|Arch 2014. This Rob|Arch, around 100 researchers, professionals, artists, and designers actively participate in the workshops, and twice as many are expected to attend the conference sessions on Saturday and Sunday.  We’re absolutely thrilled by the quality of the workshops that offer their participants unprecedented insight into how both research institutions and also enterprises like Bot & Dolly interact and work with robotic arms.

robarch2014-15We’ve posted a best-of gallery at www.robarch2014.org. For near real-time information visit the Robots in Architecture Facebook page. All social-media is collected via TagBoard via the hashtag #robarch2014

 

Free Pre-Workshops at Rob|Arch 2014 – 13.5.2014

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On the day before the official opening of the Rob|Arch 2014 workshops (13.5.2014), all registered Rob|Arch 2014 attendees will have the chance to attend one of the free one-day pre-workshops that will be hosted in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan.

Daniel Piker will demonstrate his powerful live-physics engine Kangaroo, while Sigrid Brell-Cokcan and Johannes Braumann of the Association for Robots in Architecture will introduce participants to parametric robot control through KUKA|prc.

See www.robarch2014.org for details

Brand-new KUKA|prc Release

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We’re very proud to release a new public trial version of KUKA|prc that offers great enhancements over the previous public version. Members of the Association have had access to these features for a while now through the protected download section on the Robots in Architecture Forum, where new releases are posted every few weeks. Since the past trial version release in September 2013, 15 member versions were posted by the Association for Robots in Architecture – an average of more than 2 releases per month, making brand-new features immediately accessible to members.

The free trial version generates fully functioning KRL code, but does not have support for some advanced features such as external axes. DOWNLOAD it from the KUKA|prc page.

New and improved features include:

  • Support for linear and rotary axes (member version only)
  • Support for a automated solver for linear axes (coming soon for rotary axes)
  • Greatly improved caching and general performance
  • Several new robots including the massive KR500, the new Agilus KR10 R1100, the KR5 Arc HW (Hollow Wrist) and several Quantec models
  • Virtual Robot functionality now included in the KUKA|prc Core component
  • One slider for both normal and smooth simulation
  • Increased simulation fidelity
  • New component for including own robot cell in the simulation
  • New components for setting analog and digital outputs
  • New component for simulation analysis
  • More interpolation options
  • Movement components now use planes as input by default (can be changed via right-clicking)