KAROLA DIERICHS Architectural Research and Design

ICD Robotic Aggregations 2014

Digitally Controlled Pouring for Designed Granulates

FIRST MEETING 08.04.2014 at 9.45, room 10.23, ICD

Aggregate Architectures are architectural material systems consisting of large numbers of granules lying in loose frictional contact. Whereas conventional Architectural Assembly Systems require the designing architect to be in full control of both the shape of the individual component and that of the overall geometry, Aggregate Structures are poured into temporarily stable configurations and can thus be merely predicted in terms of their probable formations. Material Geometry is replaced by Material Behavior. Digitally controlled fabrication processes are in most cases thought of within the paradigm of precision.

The application of such manufacturing methods for the configuration of merely probable formations is relatively rare, however especially in recent years such systems have increasingly been explored, e.g. the digital pouring of sand, liquids or foam.

The relevance for the application of digitally controlled pouring processes for the aggregation of designed granular structures lies initially in establishing repeatable processes that allow for the statistic observation of the aggregate behavior. On the next level, digitally controlled processes can allow for configurations which are manually hard or even impossible to achieve.

The seminar ‘Robotic Aggregations’ has begun to explore the application of robots for the pouring of designed granular matter. Participants have developed effector-types to be coupled with the robot’s control system which are based on different logics of distributing a designed granulate. The outcome was tested in a scaled prototype of a robotically aggregated and disaggregated structure. Two main principles were explored.

The first one is based on an aggregation strategy which uses the granulate in its unordered state through the construction and deconstruction cycle. A custom-made gripper grabs a parcel of grains and drops it from a distance onto a pneumatic formwork. Different Gripper-Fingers and Grabbing-Dropping patterns were developed and tested. This strategy bears close resemblance to conventional full-scale construction processes such as cranes or dredgers. The advantage however of using a six-axis robot lies in the more precise control of motion paths and thus finer resolution of the aggregation.

The second one uses an aggregation strategy that relies on the aggregate being in a highly ordered state during distribution and in disordered state after that. A flow-controlled air-gun was constructed that allows to shoot single granules from a pointed magazine head. As a parallel research, the morphology of the individual granule was developed further to integrate flying behaviour based on seeds.

The seminar has been taught in close collaboration with the ITECH Master Thesis Seminar ‘Computational Design and Digital Fabrication’.

Institute for Computational Design – Robotic Aggregations
Karola Dierichs, Professor Achim Menges

Institute for Computational Design – Computational Design and Digital Fabrication
Tobias Schwinn, Oliver Krieg, Marshall Prado, Professor Achim Menges

Desislava Angelova, Sven Bauer, Julia Bührle, Ludwig Ebert, Ali Farhan, Moritz Finkl, Yohei Kanzaki, Petar Trassiev, Julian Wengcinek

Robotic Aggregations

Robotic Aggregations

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