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05.13.14
SCI-Arc Robot House Demo on View at Rob│Arch 2014

As more and more architecture schools around the world are “arming” themselves with robots, the 2014 edition of Rob│Arch, hosted by the Association for Robots in Architecture between May 14-18th at the University of Michigan, provided robotics instructors with an open platform for introducing their latest projects.

The SCI-Arc Robot House team's demo of a live updating program involved two Stäubli TX60L industrial robots which were set up in the faculty research space at University of Michigan through the entire duration of the conference. Designed and programmed by SCI-Arc Robot House coordinator Jake Newsum, robotics researcher Curime Batliner (ESTm ‘11) and graduate student Nikita Troufanov (ESTm ‘14), the demo used Grasshopper to program and manipulate the two robots.

Visitors were invited to interact with the robots and modify their path in real time, while the general public also had an opportunity to observe the robots in action during the conference’s closing ceremony on Sunday, May 18.

Also at the event, Newsum in collaboration with Ammar Kalo of the University of Michigan presented their research into robotic incremental sheet metal forming as a method for prototyping parametric architectural skins. A paper documenting their work is included in the Rob│Arch 2014 subsequent publication, Robotic Fabrication in Architecture, Art & Design 2014 (Springer, 2014). The two researchers were awarded the KUKA Young Potential Award for the best scientific paper presented by a young researcher at Rob│Arch 2014.

ESTm post-graduate student Nikita Troufanov joined the team from SCI-Arc courtesy of a special grant awarded by conference organizers in partnership with ABB Robotics. As part of the selection process, he submitted a chapter from his Anisotropic Formations proto-architectural project developed in a SCI-Arc studio last fall, which mixes robotics with vector-based 3D printing.