Fiberbots: Design and Digital Fabrication of Tubular Structures Using Robot Swarms
2018 Kayser M., Cai L., Bader C., Falcone S., Inglessis N., Darweesh B., Costa J., Oxman N., ROBARCH 2018: Robotic Fabrication in Architecture, Art and Design 2018, pp 285-296
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.