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RoboPinch makes voluptuous and volumetrically complex, manifold models using very precise tools through a delicate balance of discovery and empirical / iterative making.  The models are reproducible, delicate, and imprecise.  Gaudi’s hanging chain models are amazing precedents as they allow for the small-scale speculation of much larger work as informed by physical, tactile, and gravitational feedback.  Where the human hand excels in the tangible and sensual relationship to material, the robotic hand brings precision, reproducibility, and the ability to re-calibrate and tune parametric design decisions.

RoboPinch includes the robot as a speculative collaborator in the production of plaster form / volume studies.  Plaster is inexpensive, moves quickly from liquid to solid, and can be worked and reworked after it is formed.  Inexpensive fabric and flexible formwork allows for distortions prior to the material phase-change.  Added external forces from the robot introduce a displacement of material within the flexible formwork.  The robot is also used to position parts in relationship to the axis of gravity so that a sag in liquid plaster can be frozen and re-oriented once the part is cured.  The final output is a series of massing models that explore the relationship between landscape and proto-architectural forms.

Project Team:

Karl Daubmann with Ric Foley & Stella Zhang

Additional help provided by Patrick Ethen, Claire Matucheski, Luis Orozco