An exhibition which will showcase 6m high tower entirely built by flying robots will be hosted in France. Swiss architects Gramazio & Kohler and Italian robot designer Raffaello D'Andrea have developed the exhibition that will be held at FRAC Centre in Orléans, France.
The 6m high tower will be made of 1,500 prefabricated polystyrene foam modules. This tower will be built using fleet of quadrocopters which are programmed to lift the Styrofoam modules, transport and place them in the required place. They are controlled wirelessly and all of them move in a coordinated way along a preprogrammed flight path and build the structure. Hence it has been aptly named ‘flight assembled architecture’. It has been designed to bring out new methods in thinking of architecture as a "physical process of dynamic formation". This architectural structure is the first of its kind (to be built by flying robots).
Quadrocopter with the styrofoam module
The tower will be built in 10m x 10m x 10m air space and tower will have 3.5m diameter. This airspace will have 50 quadrocopters flying around at a time and they’re tracked simultaneously at a rate of 370 frames a second. The arena has been expertly designed by D'Andrea and has been equipped with state-of-art motion capture system. The quadrocopters have onboard sensors which allow it to travel in the preprogrammed flight path with high accuracy along arcs and spirals.
To avoid collisions between the quadrocopters two paths that encircle the structure are used. And by reserving the space the usage of the path by the vehicles is coordinated. This will give access to just one vehicle at a time and the others have to wait before they get to fly through the path. And using this same concept, the tower space is reserved and no vehicle is allowed to have a path that goes through it. Thus the collisions of the quadrocopters with the tower are prevented.
Rendered image of the arena with the built tower
The robots will have special grippers to grip the Styrofoam blocks. The mechanism used here is to have three servo-powered pins to make a hole in the block and hold it till it is in place and then release it. To prevent any disturbances to the structure due to the turbulence of the air, the block has to be placed faster and with more aggressive impact.
The exhibition will have the architectural structure in its completed form and also have a film showing the assembly of the structure by the robots and the aspects of the exhibition. The exhibition will be on display from 2<sup>nd</sup>, December, 2011 to 19<sup>th</sup>, February, 2012.
Video showing the movement of the quadrocopters below:
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