Project Title: Adaptive Assembly – Robotic Reuse in Construction
Dates:  2017
Site: 2017 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism
Collaborators:  Ryan Luke Johns, Jeffrey Anderson

Adaptive Assembly is part of an ongoing research endeavor into robotic construction using irregular materials. Implemented as an installation as part of the 2017 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, the project allows gallery visitors to offer material waste (broken tiles, bottle caps, pocket detritus) to a collaborative robot, which locates these items and uses them to build a wall along a predetermined path. Sensors integrated into a custom end-effector detect object properties, and the projection-mapped environment provides visual, textual, and verbal announcements to human participants if an object is too heavy for the robot to carry, too porous for the vacuum gripper to pick up, too small, or too large.

Through the development of software and hardware interfaces which incorporate machine vision, structural intelligence and interactive visualizations, we can create collaborative construction procedures which balance the aesthetics and efficiency of natural materials with algorithmic intelligence, robotic dexterity, and human creativity. Such robotic processes do not produce a single outcome, but are highly variable and dependent on site-specific materials, performance requirements, and designer intent. By recognizing the “sign stimuli” that trigger certain robotic behaviours, designers can adapt their actions to better take advantage of the robot’s capabilities. By working within the constraints of design objectives, machinic and material morphologies, it is possible to produce designs which are closer to the intent of the designer and material, while more clearly illustrating the adaptability and variation enabled by digital design tools.

Johns, R.L. and Anderson, J.  2018  ‘Interfaces for Adaptive Assembly’ In: Anzalone P, Del Signore M, and Wit A (eds) ACADIA 2018: Recalibration on Imprecision and Infidelity. Proceedings Catalog of the 38th Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA). [Text available here]

Johns, R.L. and Anderson, J.  “Adaptive Assembly: Collaborative Robotic Reuse in Construction” In: Seoul Biennale of Architecture & Urbanism 2017: Imminent Commons (Exhibition Catalog).  [Text]