Robot Heimat is the first micro-architecture for sheltering a robot lawnmower fabricated with a metallic membrane. The project is a collaboration between 01000110, a Berlin design studio, and Additive Tectonics an innovative company for additive manufacturing in architecture.
Robot Heimat is more than just a garden shed, is a futuristic idea that lays in a house’s garden. It is a small “house” built for robots, reminding us that even a robot needs a place where it can rest, recharge, and shelter. The aesthetic goal was to design this functional shed as a fine garden sculpture. The final object is a stiff metallic surface that still looks like a fabric.
The designers used a novel manufacturing strategy for fabricating doubly curved metal surfaces by electro-reinforcing high-strain membranes. The mean reinforcement is electroplating, a process that uses electric current for applying metal coatings on conductive substrates. This manufacturing strategy was previously presented at the Form and Force Conference from the International Association of Shell and Spatial Structure.
The design of the Robot Heimat follows a specific method due to its fabrication process. First, a rough surface is designed integrating fabrication, architectural and structural constraints. Secondly, a particle-based simulation is developed for pre-stressing the high-strain membrane into the target surface and for unrolling the geometry into an approximated flat contour. The high-strain elastane membrane is laser-cut and shaped into a target geometry by mechanically pre-stressing it onto a metal framework assembled with custom 3D printed nodes. The Robot Heimat is finally assembled from four electro-reinforced membranes with an average thickness of 1.5 mm nickel. The surface is additionally sandblasted and coated to achieve a uniform color.
Robot Heimat being a metallic membrane is a perfect solution for sheltering a robot lawnmower. The high metallurgic property of the doubly curved surface guarantees protection from rain and snow. Additionally, its four legs ensure sufficient ventilation to reduce accumulated heat.
The metallic shell produced for the robot Heimat following the work presented at the IASS 2019 Conference: Metal-reinforced Membranes – Electroplating high-strain membranes into metal shells