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MIT is Working on a Fully Autonomous Robo-Builder that Designs and Prints Homes

In the future, MIT 's latest 3D printing robot could be a fully autonomous site preparation tool, architect, supply chain and builder in one (Credit: MIT)

In the future, MIT ‘s latest 3D printing robot could be a fully autonomous site preparation tool, architect, supply chain and builder in one (Credit: MIT)

Loz Blain reports: This MIT robot, rolling on tank tracks, can already 3D-print a concrete dome structure in 14 hours. But the development team has plans to have it roaming the land on its own, selecting and clearing building sites, designing homes, gathering building materials and completing construction without any human intervention.

If you’re a pessimist, you can start adding “construction worker” to the long list of jobs that are coming under threat from an accelerating wave of technological development.

It seems fairly clear at this point that large-scale 3D printing has some pretty awesome potential. We’ve already seen how automated, on-site 3D printing machines can smash out 10 basic concrete houses in the space of 24 hours.

We’ve seen the massive cost and waste savings that additive manufacture can unlock compared to traditional construction, and the freedom they offer in terms of shape and design.

Now, an MIT team has demonstrated its own prototype, a 3D printing robot that rolls around on tank-style tracks. While it’s currently capable of building a simple, 50-foot diameter insulated concrete dome structure inside 14 hours, the team has some pretty amazing ideas for its future … (read more)

via newatlas.com

1 Comment on MIT is Working on a Fully Autonomous Robo-Builder that Designs and Prints Homes

  1. John Banister // April 30, 2017 at 8:59 am // Reply

    I think this is backwards. Exoskeletons are for when there’s an insect scale cube square ratio. The builder ought to be printing an ICF form with concrete “bones,” not printing a solid concrete shell into which insulation is sprayed. Solid concrete doesn’t do the needed job for building structures under 5 stories tall. The necessary continuous shell thickness to transfer load in a building that is penetrated by enough doors and windows to allow it to be a desirable place to spend one’s time will result in a thermally lossy overuse of concrete, a material whose use should be conserved considering the amount of CO2 currently generated by its production. I think concrete as a structural building material is much much better than wood frame, but I don’t think this sort of wall design is the way to go about it.

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