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Research Papers: Design of Mechanisms and Robotic Systems

Design and Control Concept for Reconfigurable Architecture

[+] Author and Article Information
Eftychios G. Christoforou

Department of Electrical and
Computer Engineering,
University of Cyprus,
Nicosia 1678, Cyprus
e-mail: e.christoforou@ucy.ac.cy

Andreas Müller

Institute of Robotics,
JKU Johannes Kepler University,
Linz A-4040, Austria
e-mail: a.mueller@jku.at

Marios C. Phocas

Department of Architecture,
University of Cyprus,
Nicosia 1678, Cyprus
e-mail: mcphocas@ucy.ac.cy

Maria Matheou

Department of Architecture,
University of Cyprus,
Nicosia 1678, Cyprus
e-mail: matheou.maria@ucy.ac.cy

Socrates Arnos

Department of Electrical and
Computer Engineering,
University of Cyprus,
Nicosia 1678, Cyprus
e-mail: arnos.d.sokratis@ucy.ac.cy

Contributed by the Mechanisms and Robotics Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received August 20, 2013; final manuscript received January 9, 2015; published online February 16, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Craig Lusk.

J. Mech. Des 137(4), 042302 (Apr 01, 2015) (8 pages) Paper No: MD-13-1371; doi: 10.1115/1.4029617 History: Received August 20, 2013; Revised January 09, 2015; Online February 16, 2015

Shape-control in an architectural context is expected to provide unique opportunities for buildings with enhanced functionality, flexibility, energy performance, and occupants comfort. An architectural concept is proposed which consists of a parallel arrangement of planar n-bar mechanisms formulating its skeleton structure and a membrane material stretched over it to define the building envelope. Overall shape changes involve coordinated motion of the individual planar mechanisms. Each linkage is equipped with one motion actuator as well as brakes installed on every joint. Reconfigurations of the building are based on the “effective 4-bar (E4B)” concept allowing stepwise adjustments. Each intermediate step involves the selective locking of (n − 4) joints on each closed-loop linkage effectively reducing it to a single degrees-of-freedom (DOF) 4-bar mechanism, the configuration of which can be adjusted using the available motion actuator. A reconfiguration of the mechanism can be realized through alternative control sequences and an optimal one can be selected based on specific criteria. The paper reports the fundamental design and control concepts. A simulation and an experimental study are presented to demonstrate the implementation of the general reconfiguration approach and examine relevant issues.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Basic architectural concept of a shape-controlled building. The skeleton structure consists of an arrangement of n-bar linkages and a membrane material stretched over the envelope structure.

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Fig. 2

Architectural concept for the building envelope realization. It combines a flexible spatial structure and an elastic membrane material. The purpose of the system is to passively adjust its shape in response to reconfigurations of the primary structure.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

(a) The E4B concept and (b) the effective crank-slider concept (⊗: locked joint, ⊙: unlocked joint, △: pivoted-to-the-ground joint, □: slider joint, ——: physical link, –––: effective link)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Control sequences for implementing the reconfiguration of the simulation example subject to the given requirements of the problem. (⊗: locked joint, ⊙: unlocked joint, △: pivoted-to-the-ground joint, shaded symbols represent the currently adjusted joint(s), the dashed-line encirclements correspond to the effective coupler links).

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Fig. 5

Simulated stepwise changes of the linkage between an initial (perfect heptagon) and a final configuration. Each row corresponds to the feasible sequences (b), (c), (d), and (e) from the above control scheduling tables. Shaded symbols represent the currently adjusted joint(s).

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Fig. 6

Computer-aided design drawing of the assembled 7-bar experimental device. A motor is installed at one of the base joints and the actuator assembly includes a gear reduction. Except from the base joints, all the rest can be locked using electromagnetic brakes. Optical encoders are used to provide joint position measurements.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

The planar 7-bar experimental device consists of equal-length links. A stepper motor installed at one of the base joints is the only motion actuator of the system. Electromagnetic brakes are installed on each joint except the ones at the base.

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Fig. 8

Stepwise reconfiguration of the system based on motion sequence (c)

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Fig. 9

Joint motion during the reconfiguration following control pattern (c). Both the motion of the actuated joint (top) as well as of the rest of the joints (bottom) were captured through optical encoders.

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