Australian students use robotics to design room that changes shape

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Sydney, Sep 19 (IANS) Combining machine learning and kinetic architecture, a team of computational design students in Australia have developed a unique origami-style meeting room that can learn human behaviour and change shape in response to the behaviour of people.

The interactive Centaur Pod is set to adapt to external environmental and human stimuli by moving up and down and changing its shape, said Hank Haeusler, Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

“At the moment, a human can be in the same space as a robot and can interact in the space with the robot, but what we want to do is make space itself become the robot,” Haeusler said.

“Thus when a person in a building moves, behaves or operates in any way, the ‘robot’ will sense this behaviour and starts learning from this behaviour and other people’s behaviour and will create knowledge from the behaviour and the knowledge will translate into the space to change,” he noted.

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The approximately six-to-nine square metre pavilion explores three main areas, machine learning and artificial intelligence; digital fabrication and robot fabrication; and augmented reality and virtual reality.

This will profoundly change the way architects design, develop and manufacture in the future, the researchers said.

“We try to push as much as possible the boundaries of conventional architecture and design, and explore what machine learning, biomimicry or creative robotics have to offer for spatial design to use this knowledge as seed to develop architectural design projects,” Haeusler said.

“We’re looking at how digital fabrication and robot fabrication could shape the way we build buildings or structures,” he noted.

The pavilion, being developed in collaboration with Arup — the engineering firm behind the Sydney Opera House — will be constructed next year.

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