On-site with Spot: Robotic refinement of workflow procedures
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Foster + Partners’ Applied Research and Development group has for many years been actively researching and using robots in various capacities. This interest led the practice to be the only architectural firm to participate in American engineering and robotics company Boston Dynamics’ Early Adopter Program for ‘Spot’; exploring how their semi-autonomous quadruped robot could be used in the architecture, engineering, construction, and operations (AECO) industries. Here, the team assess Spot’s potential to radically improve workflows, speed up processes and revolutionise Foster + Partners’ digital twin efforts.

The potential for mobile robots in AECO 

The first day ‘Spot’ entered Foster + Partners’ Riverside Studio, someone ran to hug it! Spot’s resemblance to the canine counterpart inspires people to engage with the robot as if it were a living being. But, beyond the novelty of its appeal, the Applied Research and Development (ARD) team’s initial encounter with Spot revealed an untapped potential for its application within architecture, engineering, construction, and operations (AECO) industries. This led to Foster + Partners’ decision to join American engineering and robotics company Boston Dynamics’ Early Adopter Program for Spot last year. 

As the only architecture practice to be a part of the initiative, Foster + Partners have been investigating how Spot’s skills - the agile robot can climb stairs and traverse rough terrain with ease – lend themselves as a tool to capture and monitor progression on-site. Its extraordinary capabilities make Spot an invaluable resource as we attempt to rethink and reinvent our construction processes.

21 December 2021
Architects Martha Tsigkari, Adam Davis, Khaled El-Ashry, Sherif Tarabishy and Anders Rod are members of the Applied Research and Development (ARD) group at Foster + Partners, a team known for their pioneering use of technology in order to push the limits of what is possible in architecture and engineering. ARD is focused on pursuing state of the art research in different fields from complex geometry to machine learning, and applying its findings to real world design challenges.