In May 2016, two KUKA Robotics KR60 robotic arms were delivered to the Robotics Lab in the basement of Sutton Hall, opening up a wide new range of opportunities for students and faculty alike. Each robotic arm has a 60kg load capacity and a 2m reach. They also share a two-axis positioner, capable of handling 400kg, to enhance collaborative work.
Just weeks after delivery, the robots are being put to the test by the Architectural Robotics Lab team. As shown in this video, an experiment was conducted using the robotic arms, and the software that controls them, to create drawings that have the feel of hand drawn sketches. This was a challenging endeavor as drawings by hand reflect a certain amount of randomness and imprecision, while robots are inherently accurate and precise.
These drawings were created through both a VB.net script that produces the geometry and a parametric Grasshopper algorithm that utilizes Kuka PRC to develop the gestures. They explore the introduction of an intentionally random process into an algorithmic structure to produce drawings that have the precision of robotic production but the feel of the hand drawn.
The robots' full range of capabilities for assisting students and faculty is expansive, and the robotics team will be working over the summer to develop workflows, tooling, and access protocols. Key faculty research and teaching partnerships, as well as training and use opportunities for students, will be announced near the beginning of the fall semester.