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Auto(mated)nomous Assembly

Yuxi Liu; Boris Belousov; Niklas Funk; Georgia Chalvatzaki; Jan Peters; Oliver Tessmann
In: António Gomes Correia; Miguel Azenha; Paulo J. S. Cruz; Paulo Novais; Paulo Pereira (Hrsg.). Trends on Construction in the Digital Era. International Conference on Trends on Construction in the Post-Digital Era, Pages 167-181, ISBN 978-3-031-20241-4, Springer International Publishing, 2023.


The paper presents research on a hierarchical, computational design approach for the aggregation of dry-joint, interlocking building blocks and their autonomous assembly by robots. The elements are based on the SL Block system developed by Shen-Guan Shih. The work proposes strategies to assemble multiple SL blocks to form larger aggregations which subsequently turn into building elements on another scale. This approach allows reconsidering the resolution of architectural constructions. Building elements that have previously been considered as solid and monolithic can now be aggregated by many small SL-Blocks. Those dry-joint aggregations allow for easy disassembly and reassembly into different configurations and therefore contribute to a circular reuse of building elements. In order to facilitate such a permanent transformation, the research also includes first steps towards the autonomous assembly of building blocks through a robot including the planning for how to optimally place the parts, as well as ensuring feasible execution by the robot. The goal is a fully autonomous pipeline that takes as input a user-defined, desired shape, and the available building blocks, and directly maps to actions that are executable by the robot. As a result, the desired shape should be optimally resembled through the robot's autonomous actions. The research therefore addresses handling the combinatorial search space regarding the possibilities to combine the available parts, incorporate the constraints of the robot, creating a feasible plan that ensures the stability of the structure at any point in the construction process, avoiding collisions between the robot and the structure, and in the case of SL-Blocks, trying to ensure that the overall structure is interlocking.