On-the-fly building RECONFIGuration for post-emergency recovery: collaborative human/robot decision-making and structural safety


Buildings undergo substantial changes in their requirements throughout their lifespans. Although we traditionally aim to construct buildings that sustain the test of time, they often fall short to live up to new spatial needs, changes in the local surroundings, natural disasters or simply maintenance deficiencies. The result is that many buildings or structures are demolished and replaced with new construction more often than necessary.
RECONFIG aims to address the challenge of partially damaged buildings and structures and propose ways to reconfigure the spaces that they provide while preserving as much construction material as possible. By combining robotic fabrication and computer vision with structural design and computational decision-making, the project proposes localised interventions on buildings and structures that are damaged or that require substantial adjustments to remain useable in a constantly changing environment. The process employs industrial robots to locally intervene into damaged structures to support, reconfigure (disassemble and reassemble in an iterative process) and monitor stability during the entire transformation process.
The novelty of the proposed method lies in a localised approach that relies on both humans and robots to make on-the-fly decisions on the reconfiguration strategy, without necessitating large data-sets and a global model with detailed information, which are often simply not available for already built structures and emergency situations.

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