The key idea of Industry 4.0—networks interlinking all the infrastructure, machines and human beings involved in production processes—currently characterizes our conception of coexistence with robots. On one hand, it’s said that automation will facilitate fabrication processes and simplify our everyday life; on the other hand, rapid progress induces anxiety and insecurity at the thought of machines gaining the upper hand over the world we inhabit. Beyond the realm of their industrial applications, however, members of a creative young generation of architects, artists and designers are now using machines to perform tasks that are radically different than the jobs they were designed to do—applications that highlight the possibilities of cooperation and alternative utilization. Can industrial robots be used to fabricate fascinating forms in the field of fashion design or to produce intricate objects out of clay? What does a bridge assembled out of robot-formed modules look like? Will our public spaces someday be teeming with intelligent robotic-architectural structures that automatically adapt to our needs?
The Creative Robotics exhibition demonstrates once again how industrial robots are being used outside of their intended areas of application in mass manufacturing, and have become a medium of artistic and creative expression and a catalyst for the implementation of innovative ideas and the manifestation of futuristic visions. Together with our prominent associates, we are exploring new ways to utilize industrial robot technology beyond the confines of big assembly lines.
In cooperation with KUKA; Laboratory for Creative Robotics, Fashion and Technology program at Linz Art University; Institute of Robotics at JKU—University of Linz; Institute for Computational Design and Construction (ICD), University of Stuttgart; Centre for IT and Architecture (CITA) in Copenhagen; Co-de-iT in Turin; Nico Rayf @ Tree of Motion in cooperation with the Applied Robotics Lab and Wood Technology at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.
The 3.5-meter-long bridge is only 0.5 mm thick yet it can support a load of up to 100 kg. This structural capability is entirely dependent on the local deformations within, and connections between, the upper and lower panels.
Nico Rayf launched “BranchBoarding” in 2010 in Vienna. His idea was to mount skateboard or longboard axle & wheel assemblies onto a tree branch to then be able to ride it. Over the following years, Nico Rayf experimented with several varieties of trees and woods and various riding styles.
The project Cyber Physical Macro Material demonstrates a tangible vision of a new dynamic (and intelligent) architecture for public spaces. The agile and reconfigurable canopy is enabled by a combination of distributed robotic construction and a programmable digital building material.
Artist Anna Piecek’s main objective in this project was to come up with new and innovative ways to work with textiles by making volumes and unconventional shapes with methods that had never before been used in the context of fabric design.
Designed to explore additive fabrication processes, the project focuses specifically on the question of how this material behaves during the fabrication process. The ceramic objects on display were made with the help of a robotic arm equipped with a custom-made tool to extrude clay and other paste-like materials.
"[proteus]" is the initial prototype of an analog interactive display. In this experiment, ferrofluids—liquids that react to magnetic fields without becoming rigid, and thereby often form interesting three-dimensional structures—are controlled by both electromagnetic signals and a robotic interface.
The Robot Cell project entails, among other things, research on robot arms’ fine motor skills. The combination of sensitive gripper arms and intelligent perception enables two industrial robots to solve a Rubik’s Cube within a very short time and with the minimum number of pivots.
THE MEANS is a piece of abstract sculpture created with the help of a robot. It is one of the results of a research project at Linz Art University’s Creative Robotics Lab that is investigating ways metal can be bent by a robot. Via machine learning, a computer can quickly calculate how a robotic arm has to bend the individual metal components so that the desired sculpture can then be assembled as simply as possible.