Sense-It 6-Axis

Robotic Sensing and Materially-Directed Generative Fabrication

Sense-It explores the potentials of materially-directed generative fabrication through an integration of research in robotic sensing, plastic deposition, and generative code. This approach tests the limits of a machine-material-sensor interface to act autonomously, without direct adjustments from an observing operator, and capitalizes on sensor responsiveness and material agency to produce unpredictable outcomes. This workshop moves away from optimization and efficiency as the primary drivers of digital fabrication in pursuit of a model where materials assume maximum agency in the fabrication process. Feedback loops between machining parameters, real-time sensors, and plastic deposition will infuse the workshop results with both intelligence and an intentional instability, where the outcomes can be guided but never fully predicted.

Workshop participants will be working in groups of three to four with Arduino microcontrollers, basic electronic components, and sensors to develop their own logic for the workshop’s unique sensor-deposition workflow. Manipulating simple code in Kuka Robot Language (KRL) and Arduinos, each group will test physical deposition patterns using the sensor of their choice. Through design strategies comprised of small adjustments to the workflow’s many parameters—robot movements, speed of actuation, limits of sensor data, etc.—we will create a catalogue of possible outcomes.

The custom hardware and software used to communicate with the robot will be made available to all participants.

Location: University of Michigan

What participants can expect to learn in this workshop

Participants will be introduced to generative coding, plastic deposition, and real-time sensing. While basic knowledge of Arduino and Gcode is preferable, an introduction and personal support will be provided throughout the workshop.

Participants will be encouraged to develop their own sensor setup within the workshop in relation to Robotic Plastic Deposition (RPD), ongoing research by workshop leaders Ellie Abrons and Adam Fure.


Familiarity with scripting (not necessarily with Arduino or KRL).
Participants are required to bring their own laptops preferably with Arduino software installed.
Extra software will be provided by workshop presenters.

Robotic Specification

– 2x Kuka KR6R900 6-Axis Industrial Robots

Workshop Schedule

Before the events, by email
First contact, introduction to the workshop theme, list of text and art references as theoretical background

Day 1
– Introduction to the concept of materially-directed generative fabrication. Presentation of existing architectural research with custom end-effector and sensors
– Introduction to Robot movement and KRL
– 1st Robot experimentation with the tool provided (by simulating the sensors and using the Robot’s interface to move manually or editing existing code)
– Discussion on first idea of logic to develop

Day 2
– Introduction to sensors & actuators within Arduino environment
– Manual and robot experimentation. minimum one session on robot per group

Day 3
– Showcase of initial project and explanation of workflow logic
– Discussion and project review
– Robot experimentation, minimum 3 sessions per group
– Conclusion

Workshop Presenters

Alexandre Dubor – Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia
Alexandre Dubor is an architect researcher hacking new technologies in an attempt to reinvent how we build and live in our cities. Between engineer and architect, he own a March “Structure & Architecture” from the “Ecole d’Architecture de la Ville et des Territoire” (EAVT) and “Ecole des ponts et Chaussée” ENPC, as well as a master from the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC). He is currently researcher and instructor in Robotic & Digital Fabrication at IAAC, meanwhile working at Fab Lab Barcelona and Appareil. His current research includes and

Gabriel Bello Diaz – Make It Locally
Gabriel Bello Diaz currently resides in Seattle, Washington where he works as a writer and architectural researcher. His writings and research focus on robotics and neuroscience and their influence in architecture. He has presented work in several conferences and exhibitions including: Robots in Architecture 2012, Venice Biennale 2012 and [En]Coding Architecture 2013. He is also Director of Research and Development at MiL, Make it Locally, a non-profit organization that advocates for a new standard in public school education and initiates interventions for communities in different countries.

Guillem Camprodon – Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia
Guillem Camprodon is an industrial designer working in projects that range from the Internet of Things to Digital Fabrication. He owns a BA in design by the Elisava Design School and the Fab Academy diploma by the Fab Lab Network in collaboration with the MIT. He has been involved with Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) and the Fab Lab Barcelona since the Fab Lab House project in 2010 and he is currently a researcher at IAAC R+D department working for companies such Endesa or Cisco. He is also a regular advisor on many projects as a tangible interaction expert and he teaches regularly workshops on open-source electronics and programing at Fab Lab Barcelona.

Ellie Abrons – University of Michigan
Ellie Abrons is an Assistant Professor at the Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, where she was the A. Alfred Taubman Fellow in 2009–2010. Ellie received her M.Arch from the University of California Los Angeles where she graduated with distinction and received the AIA Certificate of Merit. She received her B.A. in art history and gender studies from New York University and has a certificate in graphic and digital design from Parsons School of Design. She has worked in numerous offices in Los Angeles and Boston such as servo, GregLynnFORM, and Office dA. Recent recognition of Ellie’s design work includes a residency fellowship at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany, a first prize entry in the ACSA Archive competition, and a commission for the 13th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale.

Adam Fure – University of Michigan
Adam Fure is an architectural designer and educator teaching at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. He holds degrees in architecture from the University of Michigan and the University of California, Los Angeles where he graduated with distinction and was awarded the Alpha Rho Chi medal. His work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Beijing Biennale, the A+D Gallery in Los Angeles, the AA in London, and the Grand Rapids Museum of Art. He is the recipient of numerous awards including a residency fellowship at the Akademie Schloss Solitude, the Carlin Glucksman Endowed Fellowship in Architecture, the Jeffrey “Skip” Hintz Memorial Fellowship in Architecture, and two first prize entries in the recent ACSA Archive #4 competition. Adam has worked for the offices of Gnuform, Office dA, and as a project designer for Greg Lynn FORM.