The College of Architecture is training students to use a new fabrication tool that will help bring their designs to life. The robotic arm was produced by FANUC America, a company that specialises in robotic manufacturing, and customised especially for the University by RobotWorx, a company focused on robotic technology. The arm is located in the Fabrication Lab, which is in the Architecture Annex Building.
The arm is composed of six axes and rotates 360 degrees, allowing students to cut certain angles and shapes that cannot be cut with other fabrication tools. The machine also is capable of shaping foam and 3-D printing.
Architecture professor, Kevin Erickson, said “We are a research university, and we have to think about the application and the use of this equipment to further the discourse of our profession.” “One example of a project that Erickson assigned his students involves transforming a tree trunk into a canoe using the robotic arm. The project will teach students the speed and technique that should be used to cut the inside and outside of different objects,” Erickson said.
Myah Price, senior in FAA and a student in Erickson’s robotics and architecture course, said that learning the new applications has changed the way she designs her projects. “Technology has really influenced the way I have designed specifically within the projects. I really like seeing how it (the robotic arm) affects the style of my design,” Price said.