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The Rise of the Machines Conference

How Automation and Robotics are Changing Construction

Date & Time

Thursday, April 6, 2017 at 7:30 am - 12:30 pm


UI Labs 1415 North Cherry Ave Chicago, IL 60642

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It’s no secret that technology is transforming the building process from start to finish – making it possible to build smarter and with greater efficiency and effectiveness.

One area of innovation enabling this growth is Automation and Robotics. This includes the adoption of drones, machine fabrication, autonomous equipment, A.I. and machine learning.

Join us as we examine these topics in comprehensive detail with some of their earliest adopters, including pioneering companies like Full Stack Modular, Piaggio Fast Forward, Construction Robotics, DIRTT and more.

Automation and Robotics isn’t 10 years away. It’s here now.


Chris Kelsey

Founder and CEO, Cazza

Russ Angold

CTO and Co-Founder, Ekso Bionics

Jacob Fabrizius

Section Manager, CAT

Sasha Hoffman

COO, Piaggio Fast Forward

Ethan Cowles

Principal and Director, FMI

Scott Peters

Co-Founder, Construction Robotics

Mike Silver

Co-Leader, SMART Community of Excellence

Roger Krulak

Founder and CEO, Full Stack Modular

Sarah Putnam

Manufacturer's Representative, DIRTT

David Pikey

VP, Corporate Technology, Hill Group

Scott Nelson

VP, Planning, Design & Construction, Advocate Health


Day 1 Schedule
Time Session Toggle Session View
7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast and Networking
8:30 – 8:45 a.m.

The introduction will focus on the scope of the problem and highlights a few of the initial hints at a solution

8:45 – 9:05 a.m.

Chris will introduce his efforts to create the world’s next-generation automated construction and 3D printing technologies to make construction faster, more cost-effective, and environmentally friendly. He will explore his recent work printing fully operational buildings in Dubai as well as exciting new initiatives currently underway.

Speakers: Chris Kelsey, Founder and CEO, Cazza
9:05 – 9:35 a.m.

Each speaker will spend ten minutes sharing their work with automation, 3D printing, and robotics. They will then participate in a moderated conversation that will explore ways in which these technologies have entered – or may enter in the future – the construction industry. In doing so, they will consider some of the barriers that might currently exist to entry, the challenges that must be overcome, and the ultimate horizon for a return on investment that might be made.

Speakers: Russ Angold, CTO and Co-Founder; Ekso Bionics Jacob Fabrizius, Section Manager, CAT
9:35 – 10:00 a.m.
Speakers: Sasha Hoffman, COO, Piaggio Fast Forward
10:00 – 10:20 a.m. Break
10:20 – 10:40 a.m.
Speakers: Ethan Cowles, Principal and Director, FMI
10:40 – 10:55 a.m.

Scott will discuss how Construction Robotics has developed SAM as a robotic bricklayer as well as a new product that will soon be brought to market. He will explore the process of creating the product, challenges of introducing the product to a traditionally conservative industry, and the success stories encountered along the way. In doing so, he will discuss new efficiencies that have resulted, some of the technological challenges, the effect that robotics has had on the labor force, and the next wave of development he sees taking place in the field.

Speakers: Scott Peters, Co-Founder, Construction Robotics
10:55 – 11:10 a.m.
Speakers: Prof. Mike Silver, Department of Architecture, University at Buffalo Engagement Coordinator, SMART, CoE
11:10 – 11:25 a.m.
Speakers: Michael Silver, Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, University of Buffalo; Scott Peters, Co-Founder, Construction Robotics
11:25 – 12:00 p.m.

This panel will explore modularization at different scales of the building. Dave will discuss the Hill’s work prefabrication mechanical units in their fabrication shop as well as their work fabricating complete modular bathroom units. Sarah / Drew will discuss DIRTT’s panelized modular systems, their fabrication techniques, the role of VR and software in the design process, and their strategy for install the work on site. Roger will explore his work building large modular apartment buildings with Forrest City Ratner and his new initiative, Full Stack Modular. Together, the panel will discuss how these initiatives come together in a completed project, the benefits that result, and the next steps they each see within the industry.

Speakers: Roger Krulak, Founder and CEO, Full Stack Modular Sarah Putman, Manufacturer's Representative, DIRTT; Dave Pikey, Vice President, Corporate Technology, Hill Group
12:00 – 12:30 p.m.

The conference will conclude with a keynote case study of how Advocate Health has used modularization and prefabrication in their projects with increasingly frequency over the last decade.

Speakers: Scott Nelson, Vice President, Planning, Design & Construction, Advocate Health
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Closing Remarks, Breakout, Lunch, and Networking


UI Labs 1415 North Cherry Ave Chicago, IL 60642