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 through controlled manipulation using context-aware mobile robots could significantly expand the application space of digital fabrication in architecture beyond structured factory settings. Integrating mobile construction robots into job site workflows will allow for novel digital fabrication systems, and a seamless information exchange between design and construction processes. This will lead to flexible and high-accuracy fabrication of building elements on-site, lower transportation costs for material and increased worker safety at the construction site.

For these reasons, the collaborative work in this project focuses on combining the development of on-site building processes and building methodologies with the development of complementary robotic technologies. Progress in these areas will lead to context-aware mobile machines to build structures using novel digital fabrication processes within construction sites as they exist today. Eventually, this development also poses questions about the impact and potential these novel digital building methods will have on the production of architecture in general.

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

Main Collaborators: Kathrin Dörfler, Markus Giftthaler, Timothy Sandy

Extended Collaborators: Julio López Alonso, Peng Lu, Manuel Lussi, Lukas Stadelmann , Norman Hack, Alexander N. Walzer, 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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