Robotic Construction

Saba Ghole
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Robots are everywhere, driving our cars, building our phones, and performing complex medical procedures. They have even begun to construct homes and buildings for us. From 3D printed buildings to prefabricated components assembled on-site by swarms of insect-like robots, designers will soon be able to conceive of an idea and then leave robots to assemble the designs with massive kits of parts. Over thousands of years, humans have evolved threaded fasteners to be the optimal connection detail for human builders to use, but what about robot builders? Far from the science fiction vision of robots thinking their way through problems, building robots require careful instructions and clearly defined limits on construction systems to fabricate our world. In this studio we will explore how to optimize construction systems for robotic builders whose hands, eyes and minds are fundamentally different than our own.

This summer, students will develop an understanding of mechatronics - how robots think and interact with the world - to develop a scaled-down construction kit (like Legos, Knex) to be assembled by robots with limited dexterity. Students will consider press-fit connections, electromagnets, polymagnets, hot-melt adhesives, or other connection typology to develop a system and then use a CNC robotic arm programmed to do pick-and-place components to "robotically" build a structure out of their construction kit. This studio will also teach basic robotics, electronics, programming and 3D design. Students will have the opportunity to work with 3D modeling, fabrication tools, instructive programming and high-tech robots to create a vision for robotically-built structures of the future.


Focus Skills/Subjects/Technologies:


   Industrial Design

     Interaction Design

   Physics (Electricity, Magnetism)




   Robotics (Arduino, Sensors, Actuators)

   Digital Fabrication (Laser-cutting, 3d Printing)

   3d Modeling


  • Enrolling students must be between the ages of 14 to 18 (or grades 9-12)