Swiss robot supports eight-tonne roof with nothing but gravel and string

A robot created by a team at Swiss university ETH Zurich has built a pavilion out of nothing more than loose stones and string.

The "In situ Fabricator" robot took a month to create 11 pillars, each 3m high, which support an eight-tonne steel roof.

The finished pillars were made from 30 tonnes of stones and 120km of string.

The robot built the structure using a technique called "jamming", which involved continuously calculating the ratio between the stones and the string to make sure the structure would be stable. 

ETH Zurich said: "The Rock Print Pavilion is exploring the possibilities offered by digital and robotic manufacturing.

"Recycling is also embedded into the project: the components can be easily dismantled and the material reused."

The project is part of the "Hello, Robot. Design between Human and Machine" exhibition at the Gewerbemuseum in Winterthur, northern Switzerland.

Images courtesy of Gramazio Kohler Research/ETH Zurich

Further Reading:

Story for GCR? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in News