The Chair of Building Construction and Robotics covers a broad spectrum of research on the socio-technical application of new technologies – especially robotics and mechatronics – in everyday building activities, for example in construction processes, buildings, the city, infrastructure and design. The term “Robot Oriented Design” was coined in 1988 by the professor of the chair and describes a technological planning concept that has served as the basis for over 50 building systems, 25 automated building construction sites and numerous service robot systems.
The chair has a strong interdisciplinary approach that aims to extend the traditional core competences of architecture, urban design and building construction in order to be able to respond to changing technological, social and ecological conditions. It coordinates the newly established Master’s study program on Advanced Construction and Building Technology (English language M.Sc.) and also collaborates in a work group on the development of cities and urban infrastructure in the future on behalf of the Russian Academy.
The chair’s professor has been conducting research in the field of construction robotics for 25 years and was a co-founder of the International Association for Automation and Robotics in Construction” and its president until 2007. He has published over 250 publications predominantly in this field and sits on the editorial board of numerous journals such as “Robotica”, published by Cambridge University Press and “Automation in Construction” published by Elsevier, among others. As mechatronics, microsystem technology and robotics become an integral part of architecture, they also become part of our living environment. As a result “intelligent living environments” and our “interactions with intelligent environments” are two focal areas of teaching and research at the chair.
Since the emergence of the innovative field of “Ambient Assisted Living” (AAL), the chair has been a member of the German Ambient Assisted Living Program Committee of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and has taken part in all German AAL congresses with its own sessions. The development of modular and flexible systems for integrating diverse ICT and robotic-assisted subsystems in living environments has a long tradition at the chair.
Current research projects in the field of AAL include:
- Easy Aging in Japan – Microsystems technology and Ambient Assisted Living: a study for the BMBF undertaken on behalf of the VDE/VDI-IT GmbH, 2008/2009
- LISA Smart Walls – Living Independently in South Tyrol / Alto Adige: funded by the City of Bolzano by decree of the Land Office, 1 April 2010, Funding Ref Nr. 125/34.1; p. 27, Pkt 63., 2010-2012
- GEWOS – Healthy Living in Style: Funding Ref Nr. BMBF - 16SV3976a, BMBF-Project, 2010-2013
- PASSAge – Personalized Mobility, Assistance and Service Systems in an Aging Society. Funding Ref. Nr. V4MOB059, 2012-2015
International collaborative projects concerning demographic change include:
- EACEA-ICI Education Cooperation Program, Funding Ref. Nr. 168289-BE-2009-ICI, 2009-2013
- AUSMIP+ (Architecture and Urbanism Mobility International Program), Erasmus Mundus, 2012-2015
The chair along with the “TUM AIR” work group on Ambient Innovation + Robotics examine such developments and investigate the development of new (TUM-developed) technologies for domestic living environments that support everyday activities in the context of demographic change. The interdisciplinary collaboration between the realm of education and research at the TUM and representatives from industry offers excellent opportunities for future developments. TUM AIR prepares students and doctoral students for interdisciplinary work at the intersection of architecture, construction, electrical engineering, informatics, robotics, mechatronics, medicine and gerontology technology. At the Chair of Building Construction and Robotics, various AIR project teams are developing concepts and solutions for intelligent and adaptable living environments. The TUM AIR group is a cooperation between the Chair of Media Technology (Professor Steinbach and Professor Kranz – “Ubiquitous Computing” and “Human Machine Interfaces”), the Chair of Applied Informatics and Cooperative Systems (Professor Schlichter) and the Chair of Robotics and Embedded Systems (Professor Knoll).
International cooperation is a matter of course at the chair and scientists and academics from various disciplines and cultural backgrounds work together on a regular basis. The students currently participating in the new Master’s study program on Advanced Construction and Building Technology come from ten different professional backgrounds and twelve nations. Korean post-doc students studying at the TUM chair developed building robotic systems which have since been used to develop the first automated building construction site in Korea. The chair regularly hosts visiting scientists from Japan, India and Russia among others.