Conference Paper
The Flexing Room Architectural Robot

Advances in autonomous control of object-scale robots both anthropomorphic and vehicular are posing new human-machine interface challenges. In architecture, very few examples of autonomous inhabitable robotic architecture exist. A number of factors likely contribute to this condition, among them the scale and cost of architectural adaptive systems, but on a more fundamental conceptual level also the questions how architectural robots would communicate with their human inhabitants. The Flexing Room installation is a room sized actuated active-bending skeleton structure. It uses rudimentary social feedback by counting people to inform its behavior in the form of actuated poses of the room enclosure. An operational full-scale prototype was constructed and tested. To operate it no geometric based simulation was used; the only communication between computer and structure was sending values for the air pressure settings and gathering sensor feedback. The structure’s physical state was resolved through the embodied computation of its interconnected parts and the people counting sensor feedback influences its next action. Future work will explore the development of learning processes to improve the human-machine coexistence in space.

Title
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsKilian A
Conference NameAcadia 2018 - Recalibration on imprecision and infidelity
Date Published10/2018
Conference LocationUniversidad Iberoamericana | Mexico City
Abstract

Advances in autonomous control of object-scale robots both anthropomorphic and vehicular are posing new human-machine interface challenges. In architecture, very few examples of autonomous inhabitable robotic architecture exist. A number of factors likely contribute to this condition, among them the scale and cost of architectural adaptive systems, but on a more fundamental conceptual level also the questions how architectural robots would communicate with their human inhabitants. The Flexing Room installation is a room sized actuated active-bending skeleton structure. It uses rudimentary social feedback by counting people to inform its behavior in the form of actuated poses of the room enclosure. An operational full-scale prototype was constructed and tested. To operate it no geometric based simulation was used; the only communication between computer and structure was sending values for the air pressure settings and gathering sensor feedback. The structure’s physical state was resolved through the embodied computation of its interconnected parts and the people counting sensor feedback influences its next action. Future work will explore the development of learning processes to improve the human-machine coexistence in space.