Informing Grounds: Robotic Sand-forming Simulating Remote Autonomous Lunar Groundscaping

Advancements in robotic fabrication are enabling on-site construction in increasingly larger scales. In this paper, we argue that as autonomous tools encounter the territorial scale, they open new ways to embed information into it.

To define the new practice, this paper introduces a protocol combining a theoretical framework and an iterative process titled Informing Grounds. This protocol mediates and supports the exchange of knowledge between a digital and a physical environment and
is applicable to a variety of materials with uncertain characteristics in a robotic manu- facturing scenario. The process is applied on soil and demonstrated through a recent design-to-fabrication workshop that focused on simulating digital groundscaping of distant lunar grounds employing robotic sand-forming.

The first stage is ‘sampling’—observing the physical domain both as an initial step as well as a step between the forming cycles to update the virtual model. The second stage is ‘streaming’—the generation of information derived from the digital model and its projection onto the physical realm. The third stage is ‘transforming’—the shaping of the sand medium through a physical gesture. The workshop outcomes serve as the basis for discussion regarding the challenges posed by applying autonomous robotic tools on materials with uncertain behavior at a large-scale.

Bar-Sinai, K.L., Shaked, T., and Sprecher, A., 2019. Informing Grounds: Robotic Sand-forming Simulating Remote Autonomous Lunar Groundscaping. In: ACADIA 2019: Ubiquity and Autonomy. The University of Texas ,Austin, TX, 258–265.