Live programming for robotic fabrication
Industrial robots are general-purpose machines. To perform a specific task, a robot is given instructions. This process is referred to as robot programming and can be approached in several ways. In online/teach programming, an operator controls the robot using a teach pendant and leads it through its task. This is recorded and can be replayed. In offline programming, instructions are pre-written in a programming language on a separate computer and then sent to the robot for execution. Referencing the field of computer music, this paper explores an alternative approach – live programming. Here, instructions are written and edited on-the-fly, triggering immediate robotic responses. As a proof of concept, the music synthesis software Max/MSP is extended with robot programming functionalities and used as a live environment to control a robotic folding process. This paper describes the development of a Max/MSP patch for folding aluminum strips and discusses the results of its use.
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