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Robotics Education

UCLA Architectural Program Teaches Design for Robot Homes 35

Posted by Soulskill
from the more-than-meets-the-eye dept.
Lucas123 writes: "UCLA has created a graduate-level program that teaches architects how to design intelligent robotic buildings that are able to change their configuration to adapt to their owners' needs. The design are not limited to homes, of course, and could be used in office buildings or hotels. For example, a hotel could switch out a small bathroom in a guest room for a larger one that comes to the room along the outside façade of the building. Factories could also be transformed based on changing needs. Students in the program are working to come up with a more dynamic building, possibly one that has moving platforms or walls that could adapt the building for manufacturing different sized aircraft or products."
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UCLA Architectural Program Teaches Design for Robot Homes

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  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @11:39AM (#46128289)

    Seems like some out the movie CUBE

  • by guacamole (24270) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @11:43AM (#46128293)

    Someone has to design those too.

    • by jimshatt (1002452)
      Would that be robot robot homes, or just normal ones? BTW robot homes are already quite well described in Futurama. Ample closet room, in any case.
    • by icebike (68054)

      What about homes for people?

      For example, a hotel could switch out a small bathroom in a guest room for a larger one that comes to the room along the outside façade of the building.

      I just don't see this working, or being something anyone wants. At least not in a hotel.

      Sounds like you give up your window view when a bigger bathroom gets bolted onto your room.
      Do these things play leap frog, or what? How does it get to your room, especially if someone on the same X-Y coordinates also requested a big bathroom?
      And when your massive bulging throne blocks the view of an adjacent room, does no one bitch?
      I'm not convinced all of the plumbing issues could be handle

      • What about homes for people?

        For example, a hotel could switch out a small bathroom in a guest room for a larger one that comes to the room along the outside façade of the building.

        I just don't see this working, or being something anyone wants. At least not in a hotel.

        Sounds like you give up your window view when a bigger bathroom gets bolted onto your room.

        Or when someone above you orders a bigger bathroom. In a building of sufficient size, you could have your view blocked by an translating lavatory every few minutes.

        All of a sudden I want to re-watch Brazil.

  • Architecture Geeks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Saturday February 01, 2014 @11:46AM (#46128305) Homepage Journal

    I recommend reading the Christopher Alexander Books: "The Timeless Way of Building", "A Pattern Language", etc.

    These are the books that the Gang of Four read that inspired the software design patterns movement. So there's that tie in.

    But the other reason to read them is to encounter an entirely different philosophy about why and how to build things.

    So while the geek in me reacts to this headline with, "cool! Moving walls that reconfigure themselves! How efficient", the part of me that has read Alexander asks some questions:

    How will this make users of the building feel?
    Is ease of reconfiguration the most important design quality in a space?
    How will it impact people when the space they live and work in changes overnight?

    Also, don't read the Alexander books if you've just changed house. You'll walk around your new place frustrated at all of the faults you didn't know were faults :)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The wear and tear that the constant motion and repositioning will put in the house raises questions as to its survivability.

      Plus, with movable walls, there will be plenty of cracks for sound to seep through, which is terrible for intimacy. As it is, my neighbors can hear me fuck through the "solid" walls of my apartment. Since I bought my 4-inch penis extender, my ladies have been much louder, so loud that my upstairs neighbor starts vacuuming her house whenever she hears a female voice in my apartment. No

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @11:46AM (#46128307) Homepage
    It seems like this is more in the gee-whiz category than anything practical and they seem to have the class more because it is cool than because they expect this to happen anytime soon. A few parts of the article stand out:

    "Think about how much space you need in a typical house today, and how much of it you use at a given time," Olds said. "If the house could dynamically reconfigure itself to match your daily routine, you could find yourself being much happier in less space and using less energy. For example, a room could be configured as an office during the day, with a media wall that is used as a business display. But at night, it could be a living room, and then it could transform into a bedroom."

    But much of the rest of the world outside the US has much smaller houses already. People here have massive houses not because they need to but because they apparently want to. This is especially true in the suburbs where the rooms are often much larger than they need to accomplish their goals. Large houses are status symbols and the size of American houses has little connection to what is practically necessary. Maybe this might work better in Europe or if it were restricted in the US to urban centers? The article also acknowledges problems with other ideas, such as how they discuss modular bathrooms but then acknowledge that getting all the pipes and the like to fit would be difficult. And nothing here even begins to touch on the many issues there would be with building codes.

  • Bah! (Score:5, Funny)

    by sycodon (149926) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @11:50AM (#46128335)

    They still haven't figured out how to build a home you can get a couch, fridge, or other appliances into without needing 4 guys and lots of padding on the walls.

    • by icebike (68054)

      They still haven't figured out how to build a home you can get a couch, fridge, or other appliances into without needing 4 guys and lots of padding on the walls.

      Build the unit around the Fridge. Want a new fridge, order a new kitchen.

      You scoff? Try to replace some random part in your dishwasher like the soap dispenser. Not sold without entire sub-assembly.

  • I've noticed a tendency recently of adjectives being pared down to adjectival nouns. At first it was just Republican politicians talking about the the "Democrat Party", but it seems to have spread all over the place. I was at truck stop last year which boasted "artisan egg breakfast sandwiches"; my reaction was that I'd rather take the artisan egg home and see what hatched out.

  • We have trouble making buildings whose internal components like elevators and water pumps last more than a decade before failing. Most of our buildings don't look like they'll last more than 3-4 decades.

    The real robotics we're going to put into buildings is smart utilities that track people, sense needs, respond to emergencies and maintain a comfortable environment. In addition, as we overpopulate and thus pollute to toxic levels, they're going to filter all air and water so their occupants don't die of rap

    • Here's an interesting fact: you're not breathing real air. It's too expensive to pump this far down. We just take carbon dioxide out of a room, freshen it up a little, and pump it back in. So you'll be breathing the same room full of air for the rest of your life. I thought that was interesting.
  • The article says "factories are static". In reality, only factories for long production runs are static. Many factories are constantly setting up production lines, running them for weeks or months, then reconfiguring for a different product. This is expensive, slow, and often requires a completely different workforce than the one used during operation.

    The ability to set up a production line with robots would be useful. One reason that production lines for smartphones are so manual is that the product li

  • If microsoft software ran all of these building changes it would bring a new meaning to the phrase "blue screen of death" - falling out of the building when a wall accidentally opens up or getting crushed by a moving toilet
  • They made a movie about one of these homes called The Cube. When I get a Cube of my own, I would love to have my in-laws come to the housewarming party.

  • Sorry for posting this off-topic but there is no other place to post this, so...
    The mobile site:
    - lousy view and navigation - confusing display of mod points
    - no way to view normal site... mobile site is mandatory
    - doesn't remember my login
    - moderation doesn't work
    - can't change view by mod points (outstanding, etc. categories are broken)
    Breaking news! Now, just added!!! "popover" ads that won't go away!!!
    I had an obnoxious ad for a survey overlay the site. Won't close.
    In desperation, I even clicked on it t

    • by icebike (68054)

      Solution: Don't use the mobile site.

      Move along now.

      • by mspohr (589790)

        I would if I could (see second point in my post).
        Even when I type slashdot.org I end up with m.slashdot.org
        If I set Chrome to "Request desktop site" it "forgets" this setting so I have to do it each time.

        • by icebike (68054)

          type www.slashdot.org.

          I never have this problem, and I use three different browsers on my android devices.

  • For example, a hotel could switch out a small bathroom in a guest room for a larger one that comes to the room along the outside facade of the building.

    Giving new meaning to the words "Porta-Potty."

    If you think that is the image the four star hotel wants to project, think again. The mechanical complexities make the idea insane. You will need cranes and tracks. Earthquake rated anchorage, Perfect-seal plumbing and electrics...

    American homes are large because nowhere outside of Manhattan Island did population densities ever reach the levels you see in Europe and Asia. Building materials remain readily available and economies of scale and efficiencies in d

    • by icebike (68054)

      There is one place it might work: Vertical Trailer Parks.

      This guy [treehugger.com] seems to think you could sell it with custom trailer modules.

      But I think it could be done much cheaper, and accept current trailer models, with just a steel infrastructure and some large (frame traveling) lift facility. With 3 or 4 feet of crawl space between floors to deal with plumbing, gas and electric, you could stack them three to 8 stories high with no problem, and even supply a balcony walk way for those models that have doors on bo

  • I particularly like the idea of an on-demand bathroom, that crawls around the outside of a building... the many security cameras within the building are constantly monitoring your pulse and other health related data - when it looks like you will need to go to the restroom soon the bathroom moves to your location and a portal opens silently beside you, your embedded smart arm implant beckoning you to take a leak while the matter is not yet urgent.

    That, and robots that forcibly stuff a cat inside themselves t

  • Simply place this weighted cube on the button and open the door to your expanded bathroom! Your house will record your progress... for science. Mind the gap.
  • IAAA. Forget robots, Warner Sobek's R129 house is genius.

    Check it out in the PBS e^2 series, part 6/6, at 20:07 [youtube.com].

    Back up to 18:55 to see the beginning of Sobek's ideas.

    Watch the whole series if you have the time.

"But this one goes to eleven." -- Nigel Tufnel

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