Collective Mobile 3D Printing: An Active Sensing Approach for Improved Autonomy

Mohammad Tuqan, Alain Boldini, Maurizio Porfiri

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Three-dimensional (3D) construction printing is an emerging alternative to conventional construction methods. Common gantry- and robotic arm-based systems impose scalability limitations based on the printer size. Several research efforts proposed using multiple mobile 3D printers towards large-scale printing, relying however on unrealistic assumptions of continuous communication among all agents. Here, we explore an active sensing framework allowing individual agents to assess other agents’ progress without directly communicating with them. Our approach leverages environmental modifications introduced by each agent during printing to track the structure evolution. We focus on heat conduction in the structure, which we discretize as a 2D lattice embodying its topology. Using on-board sensors, agents measure temperature and heat at their location, which they use to infer structure’s topology. From the input-output time-series and prior knowledge of the printing task, an agent identifies the system state-matrix by using a subspace identification method and solving an inverse eigenvalue problem. We demonstrate the validity of our approach through numerical simulations, establishing conditions for successful inference. We highlight the potential of the framework in facilitating information flow among agents through the physical medium, paving the way for decentralized collective mobile 3D printing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEuropean Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring, EWSHM 2022, Volume 3
EditorsPiervincenzo Rizzo, Alberto Milazzo
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9783031073212
StatePublished - 2023
Event10th European Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring, EWSHM 2022 - Palermo, Italy
Duration: Jul 4 2022Jul 7 2022

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Civil Engineering
Volume270 LNCE
ISSN (Print)2366-2557
ISSN (Electronic)2366-2565


Conference10th European Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring, EWSHM 2022


  • 3D printed construction
  • Additive construction
  • State-space models
  • System identification
  • Topology reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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