Autonomous Architectural Robots

38 T Sensing Axel Kilian

Autonomy is becoming more common in everyday objects such as vacuum cleaners and on an experimental level in cars and in research in humanoid robots. But Architecture is still absent. The Flexing Room installation is an experiment in autonomous architectural robots that explores the concept of embodied computation. Embodied computation is the closer integration between the physical and material structure and the integration of computational control and sensors. Current architecture has limited self-awareness with few sensors compared to its large physical extents and most are related to the conditioning of spaces. The Flexing Room combines an active bending structure with sensors for controlling actuation pressure and motion tracking for capturing human actions. The interaction between visitors and the structure is open ended, allowing for the building's response to human presence to evolve over time, adjusting actions based on the perceived responses of visitors. The physical posture of the building is in part computationally determined through the set pressures in the actuators, and in part resolved through the active bending response of the fiberglass skeleton and less predictable as it is soft and responsive to environmental forces. Through the sensed position of visitors, space becomes interface and building behavior communication.