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Journal Article

Minimal machines : augmented reality for filament-construction of partially ordered systems in architecture


Rosenthal,  Nikolai       
Michaela Eder, Biomaterialien, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;


Dierichs,  Karola       
Peter Fratzl, Biomaterialien, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Bonavia, E., Farmer, J., Mballa-Ekobena, A., Rosenthal, N., Douny, L., & Dierichs, K. (2023). Minimal machines: augmented reality for filament-construction of partially ordered systems in architecture. Construction robotics, 7(3-4), 329-350. doi:10.1007/s41693-023-00109-3.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000D-9677-4
Wearable augmented reality-supported technology allows for tracking and informing the interrelation of craftspeople with the architectural structure they are working on. Especially when dealing with partially ordered rather than fully ordered material systems, this feedback is relevant since toolpaths cannot be established a priori but rather evolve during the architectural construction process itself. On the one hand, partially ordered material systems have the potential of adapting to conditions both internal and external to the structure. On the other hand, they can be considered as structures that are constantly evolving: instead of demolishing a building, it could be continuously repaired. While a large range of investigations involve robots equipped with sensory feedback to address this topic, only few studies have attempted to equip humans with a minimal amount of technology so as to harness human sensory intelligence, merely enhancing it with technology. This article introduces the current state of the field of augmented reality and partially ordered systems in architectural construction with a focus on filament-laying processes. Then, it presents a newly developed framework for augmented construction with designed filaments for partially ordered fabrics in architecture, encompassing both the wearable hardware and the custom-developed software. The principles of systems in human-made filament-based architecture are introduced and set in relation to similar role model systems in animal-made architecture. Then, three experiments of increasing complexity investigate the human-to-machine, the machine-to-human and the machine-to-human-to-machine communication. A final integrative demonstrator serves to investigate the framework for augmented reality in construction on a full architectural scale. As an outlook, areas of further research—such as the integration of artificial intelligence into the feedback loop—are discussed.