Marcus Hirthler and his colleagues at ETH Zurich have developed a new class of robots that are able to automate construction.
In Switzerland demonstrated the capabilities of the robot-Builder.
The robot, named In Situ Fabricator1, able to create building elements with the help of different tools with an accuracy of less than 5 mm, and can operate semi-Autonomous in a changing environment: work at height standard wall and pass through doorways. It is water and dust resistant, is powered by mains and battery. Besides all this, the engineer can amend the work plan in real time by connecting to the robot via the Internet.
For observations and movements of the robot Builder is equipped with cameras and a powerful processor for navigation and planning tasks. He also has a flexible manipulator to perform different tasks.
During a demonstration In Situ Fabricator1 performed several operations.
The first is the construction of the double wavy brick wall with a length of 6.5 m and a height of 2 m, made of 1600 bricks. The result is masonry, in which bricks were laid at a distance of not more than 7 mm from each other.
The second task for the robot was the creation of complex curved steel frame for concrete structures. During this process, In Situ Fabricator1 counted at each stage the force of the tension before welding the rods.
The robot Builder has its drawbacks: one of them weigh nearly 1.5 tons. It is too much in order to enter most buildings. Engineers want to lighten it up to 500 kg. secondly, it can lift objects weighing up to 40 kg, and ideally not less than 60. For this Hirthler and the company developed hydraulic drive, which will allow the robot to lift weights without losing precision. It will be used to create a second model, In Situ Fabricator2, which should appear this year.
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