On-site autonomous fabrication at architectural scales
Program in Media Arts and Sciences (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
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Recent developments in digital fabrication tools and materials have pushed how fast, how well, and in what forms products can be made. The construction industry has been interested in using these automated technologies, however, material and machine constraints prevent them from being adopted at the scales that are demanded. This thesis is focused on how we might automate construction, especially when physical human intervention may be difficult. What approaches can we pursue now? What approaches should we aim for in the future? How can we achieve high scalability and maintain sustainability throughout? I will focus on how methodologies in controls and design must shift, but will also discuss how materials, sensors, and structural and machine morphologies inform these decisions and must be jointly developed to create robust autonomous construction systems. Climate change has instituted the need to reduce waste and use environmentally-friendly materials. Refugee crises have created severe housing shortages in remote and dangerous parts of the world. Growing curiosity about extra-terrestrial exploration have captured our imaginations about fabricating off-world habitats. These scenarios have further encouraged the development of novel platforms, that are not only autonomous, but can fabricate site- and task-specific structures, on-site and in unstructured environments. I present a pathway through which we can explore and feasibly implement this research at every step. I propose we begin by (1) modifying and automating combinations of existing construction processes and materials. These systems, however, are not simply scaled, for which I present (2) strategies for developing new types of inherently parallelizable systems that use different materials, and are designed from scratch. And finally, inspired by nature, I speculate about (3) a truly sustainable, scalable, and inter-species cooperative future for construction. For this I explore the relation of social behaviors to fabrication and how to create them in both biological and artificial contexts, in the present.
Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, Program in Media Arts and Sciences, 2018.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 100-107).
DepartmentProgram in Media Arts and Sciences (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Program in Media Arts and Sciences ()