Via New Scientist: “Robot builder could ‘print’ houses”
A robot for “printing” houses is to be trialled by the construction industry. It takes instructions directly from an architect’s computerised drawings and then squirts successive layers of concrete on top of one other to build up vertical walls and domed roofs.
Engineer Behrokh Khoshnevis, at the University of Southern California, has been perfecting his “contour crafter” for more than a year. “The goal is to be able to completely construct a one-story, 2000-square foot home on site, in one day and without using human hands,” he says.
The first house will be built in 2005. If the technology is successful the robot could enable new designs that cannot be built using conventional methods, for example involving complex curving walls.
If this works out the applications could range from low cost housing in the both the First to Third worlds (“Press ‘A’ for instant Afgah village”), to custom built high end houses.