In collaborating with architects, civil engineers and contractors on projects large and small, architectural designer Han Seok Nam MIA 08 finds that human error is a common problem. People simply make too many mistakes when translating blueprints into reality and trying to interpret precise specifications. To solve the problem, he’s developing the Archibot, a miniature robot that can read AutoCAD files and draw complex plans at full scale – on site – saving time and money by avoiding costly mistakes.
“I have received patents from South Korea as well as the US and China,” says Nam, who now works in the Seoul office of the global firm Landor Associates. “I am currently putting together an international team – including a talented professor at MIT’s Biomimetic Robotics Lab – to help develop and produce the prototype.”
As a graduate student in RISD’s Interior Architecture department, Nam says he “learned to solve problems by approaching them from different points of view.” He remembers taking Professor Liliane Wong’s studio Elements in Transitional Space, which focuses on designing personalized modular houses for the homeless. “I had a crazy conceptual idea that was difficult to realize,” he recalls, “but Liliane encouraged me and shared my agony until I figured out how to solve the issues.”
After graduating, the native of South Korea worked in Boston for the international engineering design firm AECOM making improvements to Logan International Airport and the Atlantic City International Airport. “I was involved in schematic design, design development and construction documentation,” he explains. “I enjoyed the freedom in the US of moving back and forth between various fields, such as graphic design, architecture and industrial design. Here in Korea, the field is more restricted and I’m more narrowly focused on concept design.”
For now, Nam’s interior design work has taken a backseat to the Archibot, which he hopes to get into production sometime in 2015. “In addition to looking for partners in technology,” he notes, “I’m also looking for investors, and I have applied for a couple of additional patents to complement the main idea. We’re working out the mechanical problems in order to realize the very best product.”
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Thanks to generous support from Hasbro, local high school students benefitted from the opportunity to explore the possibilities of toy and game design at RISD.