In situ Fabricator

The In situ Fabricator brings robotic fabrication out of the laboratory environment directly onto the construction sites. The high-accuracy fabrication of large-scale building structures using context-aware mobile robots, beyond structured factory settings, could significantly expand the application space of digital fabrication in architecture. Integrating an In situ Fabricator into the construction workflow will allow information exchange between design and construction processes. This will lead to more adaptable and accurate fabrication of the building elements on-site and enable novel digital fabrication systems.

The work on the In situ Fabricator brings the disciplines of architecture and robotics together to overcome the challenges of integrating robotic fabrication to construction sites. The In Situ Fabricator is also a central pillar of the interdisciplinary work on Mesh Mould. Work on the In situ Fabricator project is being conducted in two parallel tracks. In one, the existing In situ Fabricator prototype platform is being developed to perform novel building processes at building scale in realistic scenarios. In the other, the next version of the In situ Fabricator and the algorithms required to operate it are being developed. The new In situ Fabricator will be significantly lighter, its morphology more configurable, and it will be capable of executing building tasks in a more dynamic, and therefore faster, manner.

Principal Investigators: Prof. Fabio Gramazio, Prof. Matthias Kohler, Prof. Jonas Buchli

Main Collaborators: Kathrin Dörfler, Markus Giftthaler, Tim Sandy

Extended Collaborators: Julio Lopez, Asutosh Satapathy, Lukas Stadelmann , Norman Hack, Michael Lyrenmann, Philippe Fleischmann, Andreas Reusser


Giftthaler, M., Sandy, T., Dörfler, K., Brooks, I., Buckingham, M., Rey, G., Kohler, M., Gramazio, F., Buchli, J. 2017. Mobile robotic fabrication at 1:1 scale: the In situ Fabricator. Construction Robotics, 1–12.

Dörfler, Kathrin, Timothy Sandy, Markus Giftthaler, Fabio Gramazio, Matthias Kohler, and Jonas Buchli. 2016. “Mobile Robotic Brickwork: Automation of a Discrete Robotic Fabrication Process Using an Autonomous Mobile Robot.” In Robotic Fabrication in Architecture, Art and Design 2016, edited by Dagmar Reinhardt, Rob Saunders, and Jane Burry, 204–17. Cham: Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-26378-6_15.

Neunert, Michael, Markus Giftthaler, Marco Frigerio, Claudio Semini, and Jonas Buchli. 2016. “Fast Derivatives of Rigid Body Dynamics for Control, Optimization and Estimation,” 91–97. doi:10.1109/SIMPAR.2016.7862380.

Sandy, Timothy, Markus Giftthaler, D Kathrin, Matthias Kohler, and Jonas Buchli. 2016. “Autonomous Repositioning and Localization of an In Situ Fabricator.” In 2016 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2852–58. doi:10.1109/ICRA.2016.7487449.

Giftthaler, Markus, Farbod Farshidian, Timothy Sandy, Lukas Stadelmann, and Jonas Buchli. 2017. “Efficient Kinematic Planning for Mobile Manipulators with Non-holonomic Constraints Using Optimal Control.” Accepted to the 2017 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Singapore., 2852–58. doi:10.1109/ICRA.2016.7487449.

Hack, Norman, Timothy Wangler, Jaime Mata-Falcón, Kathrin Dörfler, Alexander Walzer, Lex Reiter, Heinz Richner, Robert Flatt, Fabio Gramazio, and Matthias Kohler. 2016. “Mesh Mould: An On Site, Robotically Fabricated, Functional Formwork.”.” Paper submitted to the Concrete Innovation Conference HPC/CIC Tromsø 2017.

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