ETH Zurich roboticist Raffaello D'Andrea is collaborating with architects on a new building construction technique using flying robots. Their demonstration installation, Flight Assemebled Architecture, has just opened at the FRAC Centre in Orléans, France. Four autonomous quadcopter robots retrieve foam bricks and then a networked computer vision system directs their placement. The installation consists of more than 1,500 bricks and is a 1:100 model of what the architects Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler call a "vertical village."
The robots fly autonomously, but they get help from the environment: The ceiling of the room where the assembly is taking place was equipped with a motion-capture system. A computer uses the vision data to keep track of the quadcopters and tell them where to go…
When a robot's battery runs low, it automatically lands on a charger and a new quad rotor takes its place. The assembly is happening at a pace of 100 bricks per hour on average, D'Andrea says. Glue on the bottom of the bricks keeps them in place (the installation will become part of FRAC's permanent collection).
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
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