Responsive architecture based on intelligent behavior is not only the kind of buildings that people would expect in the future, but also the kind of built environment that they already need. There are many natural events that constantly challenge the strength and resilience of structures worldwide. Despite the fact that several engineering solutions exist to eliminate the risk of major disasters, some natural events still can cause several damage to critical infrastructure and numerous casualties. In fact, over the last ten years natural events have caused, on average, $62 billion in damage and over 550 casualties annually. Major earthquakes are responsible for most of the damage and most of the casualties due to the collapses of buildings. Structural behavior during seismic events has become not only a technical issue of material performance, but a speculative endeavor of creating resilient structures to unforeseen events.
Our most recent research is focused on the development of cyber-physical systems able to reproduce the behavioral patterns of the human body towards its equilibrium when facing horizontal ground motion. The synthesis of these behavioral patterns defines what we called the artificially-intelligent behavior (AiB) of our systems. An algorithm on the artificially-intelligent behavior has been preliminary analyzed in order to extrapolate it into the adaptive behavior of a habitable structure when subjected to major seismic motion. The current state of technology mainly utilizes passive seismic controlling systems which are limited by their speed of reaction that limits the capacity to efficiently mitigate the seismic event. Instead, we propose robotic habitable structures that perform as autonomous systems able to self-correct their posture in real-time facing the seismic inputs.
When facing environmental stimuli, our nervous system sense and process the information and then actuates on such information by stimulating the muscles in order to self-correct the posture of the skeleton. The proposed solution will reengineer the concept upon which seismic resilience is grounded by generating structures to behave like human beings through the AiB algorithm. Our AiB generated systems will quickly channel the incoming seismic loads by actively rearranging the structural layout in real-time, therefore, adapting to the forces by the same rules governing the human skeleton resilient principles. The proposed cyber-physical system essentially is a robotic structure made of heavy duty hydraulic elements performing as bones and muscles to actuate in a pre-programmed manner inspired by a human fixed action pattern to maintain its balance. For this project, we have teamed with structural, industrial and mechanical engineers, architects, programming consultants and biologists.
The final goal of the project is the engineering of all the architectural, structural and mechanical parameters for these types of robotic structures with artificially-intelligent behavior so they can behave like intelligent beings when facing an environmental threat. The proposed technology aims to challenge the performative resilience paradigm within the building industry which is yet highly vulnerable to these well-known dynamics from earthquakes. Our technology might potentially save hundreds of people annually and billions of dollars per seismic event alone.