The Consortium is continually working with partners in a variety of industries on a wide breadth of projects. Below are descriptions of some of the work we have done with different institutions.

STEM Education at the Consortium

The Consortium opens its doors to fourth grade students to further their math skills using New York City’s largest industrial robot.

Incremental Metal Forming

The Consortium is engaged in research surrounding architectural facade systems. Using the 6700 robot researchers are producing incrementally formed 3 dimensional metal tiles for mass customized metal facade systems. The process starts with flat sheets and “incrementally” stretches the sheets by applying pressure. It replaces traditionally stamped processes at a fraction of the cost and is highly adaptive and capable of producing a wide array of geometry. The tiles range in size for 12″ x 12″ up to 48″ x 48″ and can be produced at even larger scales from a variety of materials including copper, steel and aluminum.

Renewable Molds and Robotic Casting

The Consortium is researching renewable molds and robotic casting on to shaped sand terrains. Researchers use the 6700 robot to carve or draw into a 4′ x 8′ bed of granular sand material to make complex geometric patterned landscapes. A temporary binder is sprayed on the sand to harden it so materials can be cast on to it. The binder under development  is highly evaporative so that once a cast tile hardens it can be removed and the sand can be sifted and used over and over again producing a never ending supply of formable substrate with zero waste. Emergent formal qualities are evident as lines and tool paths become hills and valleys in the terrain. The process replaces traditionally CNC forms where customization comes with a cost in terms of wasted substrates and machine time. The tiles can be reinforced and can be cast from a variety of materials including concrete, plaster, resin and various flexible rubbers and plastics.

Robotic Formwork and Hot Wire Cutting

The Consortium is researching the ways in which hot wire cutting can be used to produce unique structural wall systems. White EPS foam is cut into complex and precise shapes that form 2 part molds which are cast into. The resulting wall systems can include complex curvature and apertures and introduce flexibility into formwork previously unseen. The research is intended to impact the way pre-cast and cast in place elements are created, allowing designers a greater degree of control.

Artmatr Robotic Painting

ArtMatr includes researchers, coders and artists from MIT and the University of Konstanz in Germany. Their work focuses on digital to physical workflows to create unique mark making strategies that are sensitive to medium and viscosity. The robot is programmed to move in precise paths which mimic the artist’s hand. The result is a blend of physical and digital marking that is augmenting the way one conceives of traditional painting.

One strategy includes mounting ink jet technology on the robot’s faceplate, allowing them to make paintings up to 45 feet in length.

Now This News

Now This Media recently visited the Consortium to shoot a portion of a documentary and interview our Founder and Executive Director, Mark Parsons on the role of robots at our research facility. The film crew and interviewer engaged the robots and learned about the ways in which we are putting people to work and using research to explore the relationship between man and machine interaction and  to create new work paradigms in industrial robotics. The film will be released in the Fall of 2017 where it will appear on the Now This Youtube channel with 20 million hits per month.

Robotic Light Drawing

Researchers at the Consortium are using the IRB 6700, and the IRB 1600 with illuminated end of arm tools – to trace digital tool paths through long exposure images.  Capturing the 4th dimension, “light drawings “are an intriguing entry point to industrial robotics because they activate physical space between the robot and work environment.

Robotic Drawing and Painting

Researchers at the Consortium are using the 6700 and 1600 robots to create large scale drawings and paintings. Use of different marking tools and different end of arm holders allows for a great variety of textures and effects. The robotic precision allows for complex layering and almost excessive detail while the imprecision of materials and drawing tools allows for a variance that is reminiscent of analog drawings. The inclination or angle of the tool allows for varying line thickness and is one of the many factors that separates robotic drawing from traditional printing and plotting.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the ten largest museums in the world, with a collection containing nearly two million works. The collection ranges from Ancient Egyptian motifs to contemporary conceptual art. Within the Met, the Media Lab is exploring ways of using technology to enhance the museum-going experience. The museum owns robotic arms from a previous exhibition and asked the consortium to explore ways to use this technology to further examine work in their extensive collection.

The Consortium worked with the Media Lab to develop ways to use robotics to analyze and re-create artworks from the collection. The resulting project, creatively driven by student Mark Kremer, focused on a Renaissance era etching (by xx, “title, 1666) from the MET’s permanent collection. Mark reinterpreted the richly expressive, highly controlled quality of delicate renaissance line work through the application of contemporary technologies to arrive at “robotic etching.”

Algorithmic modeling was employed to read the grain of existing lines, and overlay a second, new grain – as a data-based, process-driven contemporary reinterpretation of the original.

Kennedy Center for the Arts

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts works with the Consortium for Research and Robotics to use CNC technology and the 3-D printing as tools to create tactile objects for Kennedy Center patrons who are blind or have low vision. Kennedy Center personnel worked with Consortium staff to digitally re-create objects such as sets, costumes, various pieces of art, and objects around the building – to give better tactile access to Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts patrons who are blind or sight impaired.

Through working with the Consortium for Research & Robotics, the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts has been able to advance and develop “touch tours” and other activities around the Kennedy Center to open up interactive experience of the Arts to all visitors.

St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s

STEM learning opportunities around the topics of technology, engineering, and the scientific process of robotic and CNC programming are a core value of St Hilda’s middle school experience at the Consortium for Research & Robotics through multiple visits and programming in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 academic years.

Carnegie Mellon University