FIBERBOTSMIT Media Lab

FIBERBOTS is a digit­al fab­ric­a­tion plat­form fus­ing cooper­at­ive robot­ic man­u­fac­tur­ing with abil­it­ies to gen­er­ate highly soph­ist­ic­ated mater­i­al archi­tec­tures. The plat­form can enable design and digit­al fab­ric­a­tion of large-scale struc­tures with high spa­tial res­ol­u­tion lever­aging mobile fab­ric­a­tion nodes, or robot­ic “agents” designed to tune the mater­i­al make-up of the struc­ture being con­struc­ted on the fly as informed by their envir­on­ment.
Some of nature’s most suc­cess­ful organ­isms col­lab­or­ate in a swarm fash­ion. Nature’s build­ers lever­age hier­arch­ic­al struc­tures in order to con­trol and optim­ize mul­tiple mater­i­al prop­er­ties. Spiders, for instance, spin pro­tein fibers to weave silk webs with tun­able loc­al and glob­al mater­i­al prop­er­ties, adjust­ing their mater­i­al com­pos­i­tion and fiber place­ment to cre­ate strong yet flex­ible struc­tures optim­ized to cap­ture prey. Oth­er organ­isms, such as bees, ants and ter­mites cooper­ate to rap­idly build struc­tures much lar­ger than them­selves.

https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/fiberbots/overview/

FIBERBOTS: Design and Digital Fabrication of Tubular Structures Using Robot Swarms

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.

https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978–3-319–92294-2_22

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