Robots and humans shake up design - The University of Sydney

Robotic bartender to shake up design

9 September 2015

University of Sydney architecture and design students, researchers and staff will showcase the potential of robots and digital fabrication in a new exhibition.

Fabricating Futures: Robots. Research. Design. is a four-day exhibition and panel discussion that will be staged by the University of Sydney (10-13 September) as part of Sydney Design 2015, exploring the latest trends in robotics and digital technology that are driving innovation.

The University’s unrivalled fabrication facilities in the Design, Modelling and Fabrication Lab (DMaF Lab) - one of the most advanced labs of any architecture and design school in Australia - will be a focal point of the four-day event. Fabricating Futures will be exhibited throughout the DMaF Lab, alongside working laser cutters, CNC routers and 3D printers that are used to fabricate models, prototypes and full-scale projects.

Marjo Niemelä, Fabricating Futures curator and Manager of the DMaF Lab at the University of Sydney said: “We are opening our facilities to display the exhibition so that visitors can see up close the creative-making process in action, which is still very much at the heart of architecture and design teaching.

In the lab we aim to mirror what is found in R&D departments at the top-end of the industry. It is these unique facilities that enable our staff and students to push the boundaries of knowledge and innovation across robotics, design and research.
Marjo Niemelä

The exhibition features the work of more than one hundred postgraduate students from the Master of Architecture and Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts, as well as researchers in architecture, architectural science and interaction design that are experimenting with new ideas and using pioneering technology.

Hundreds of complex architectural models, digitally-developed interactive prototypes, lighting and object designs, robotic ideas and innovative research will be on show, providing a glimpse of current ideas and industry potential.

One of the highlights of the exhibition is the robotic cocktail bartender nicknamed BotBar, which made its debut at the University showcase in 2014. The new and improved robotic bartender, with automatic turntables, synchronized liquid pumps and iPad interface, shows the future potential for human-robotic interaction.

A Sydney Ideas discussion panel facilitated by television and radio presenter Fenella Kernebone on Saturday 12 September, will hear four leading robotic experts – Dr Dagmar Reinhardt (University of Sydney), Marjo Niemelä (University of Sydney), Dr Matthias Haeusler (University of NSW) and Associate Professor Jon McCormack (Monash University) – discuss the current challenges of integrating robotics into architecture and design, the latest advances and industry outlook.

Fabricating Futures is a precursor event to the international ROB|Arch 2016 conference that will be hosted by the University of Sydney in March next year. For more on Fabricating Futures visit the University’s Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning website.

Event details
What: Fabricating Futures: Robots. Research. Design.
When: 10-13 September (Panel - Saturday, 12 September from 4pm)
Where: Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, Wilkinson Building, 148 City Road, University of Sydney
Hours: Thurs 6-9pm (opening night), Fri 1-9pm, Sat and Sun 11am-5pm
Cost: Free

Mandy Campbell

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