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This Drone-Driven Sunshade Could Solve Your Summer Woes

Construction & Mining

This Drone-Driven Sunshade Could Solve Your Summer Woes

Researchers at the University of Stuttgart have developed the perfect answer to that pesky summer picnic problem – finding your perfect piece of shade.

It’s an innovative form of portable, smart architecture that is aimed at solving this mundane but frustrating problem of adjusting shade throughout the day.

Operated by drone-like devices, the university research team has demonstrated an adaptive canopy that changes its shape as the sun moves throughout the day, providing stable shadowing and shade throughout the day irrespective of solar positioning and time of the day; and considering the configurability of the system, even irrespective of geography.

Citing the research itself, “The resulting architectural system is capable of autonomous rearrangement and stagnant operation driven by behavioral design patterns rather than a singular robotic assembly or construction method.”

There are different solar sensitive robotic systems; many commonly integrated with solar panels and even for shading. This approach, however, is different. According to the researchers, “the resulting architectural system is capable of autonomous rearrangement and stagnant operation driven by behavioral design patterns rather than a singular robotic assembly or construction method.”

The canopy utilizes an integrated system composed of Cyber physical Macro Material and Aerial Robotic construction. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones have light weight Carbon Fiber filaments combined with integration electronics for sensing, processing and communication from the cyber physical material.

In the paper, three potential behavioral scenarios applying the system as a new type of architecture are outlined:

  • Adaptive behavior,
  • Interactive behavior, and
  • Learning behavior.

The devices that form the flexible canopy for shade adapt to the solar radiation emitted on them individually and as a whole, interacting with each other to form a shade composed of a number of shields . The contraption learns the solar movements to adapt and re-configure every time the canopy is opened.

“This physical flexibility and integrated intelligence enable new architectural behaviors that are capable of swiftly activating public spaces in defiance of traditionally lethargic building processes and regulations,” as per the Institute for Computational Design and Construction (ICD).

This flexible solution just might be the first step towards flexible architecture and shade in the built environment.

Citation: Cyber Physical Macro Material as a UAV [re]Configurable Architectural System. Authors: Wood D., Yablonina M., Aflalo M., Chen J., Tahanzadeh B., Menges A. Robotic Fabrication in Architecture, Art and Design 2018. ROBARCH 2018. Springer, Cham, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-92294-2_25 and http://icd.uni-stuttgart.de/?p=23178

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