OSCR is one of the first products to emerge from UB’s Sustainable Manufacturing and Advanced Robotic Technologies (SMART) Community of Excellence, focused on bringing students, faculty and industry leaders together across disciplines to create next-generation technologies and processes that will help transform the fields of manufacturing and construction. Photo by Paul Qaysi

By Rachel Teaman


This humanoid helper—the On-Site Construction Robot (OSCR)—was designed to do the dirty work on construction sites. Less than two feet tall, it can pick up bricks, climb ladders and navigate scaffolding. The fourth and latest prototype, which was cited by Architect Magazine’s 2015 R&D Awards, is also getting linked to the cloud, enabling it to transmit data like scheduling adjustments and materials needs between a jobsite and its offsite project team.  

OSCR (pronounced “Oscar”) was created by UB’s multidisciplinary Rust Belt Robotics Group, led by Assistant Professor of Architecture Michael Silver and Assistant Professors of Computer Science and Engineering Karthik Dantu and Nils Napp. The group stresses that OSCR, which is being developed in consultation with masonry trade organizations, is a “co-robot”—designed not to replace humans, but to work alongside them, increasing productivity and supporting workforce development.

The next step, a multiyear, proof-of-concept initiative with Buffalo-based construction firm LPCiminelli, will determine how the little guy performs on an actual jobsite.

OSCR-2 carrying three blocks up a staircase