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Fibrous Aerial Robotics - Study of spiderweb strategies for the design of architectural envelopes using swarms of drones and inflatable formworks

By Samuel Pietri and Alessio Erioli


This thesis research presents an integrated workflow for the design and fabrication of large-scale architectural envelopes using swarms of drones and inflatable structures as formworks. The work lies at the intersection of architecture, biology and robotics, incorporating generative design with digital fabrication techniques. The proposed approach aims to investigate the tectonic potential of computational systems which encode behavioral strategies inside an agent-based model. It is from local interactions taking place at the micro-scale of complex systems that a new set of architectural tendencies seem to emerge. The authors focused on the strategies developed by colonies of social spiders during the construction of three-dimensional webs. Their communication system and the characteristics of the material structure have been then modelled and translated in a digital environment. A physical fabrication process, in which the simulated agents become drones in a real world environment, was concurrently developed. The goal was to investigate the architectural possibilities given by an autonomous aerial machine depositing fibrous material over inflatable formworks and its potential usefulness in specific sites where overall conditions don't allow traditional construction techniques

Topics: tectonics, robotics, multi-agent systems, stigmergy, drones, inflatables
Year: 2017
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