For anyone who is aware of some fairly recent announcements in the area of rapid-manufacturing buildings (Link), today’s news won’t be a big surprise. What might be a surprise is how quickly it’s moving along. From today’s Building Design article (Link):
Researchers in the United States are on the verge of unveiling a robot capable of building an entire house from an architect’s computer-based design.
Behrokh Khoshnevis, from the University of Southern California’s department of industrial and systems engineering, said that in just three months, years of research into “freeform” construction technology will deliver the first complete building constructed entirely by robot.
Now what makes this so incredibly cool? Well, read this excerpt:
The US team has already built a wall using a machine which extrudes cement which is then reinforced with reinforcement bar.
“From a purely aesthetic point of view, you can have any design you want [with this technology],” said Rupert Soar, leader of the Loughborough research team. “You could scan in Anne Hathaway’s cottage and have it yourself. The sky’s the limit.”
Tell me this isn’t the coolest thing going. Imagine the possibilities. Imagine designing a small swarm of these robots and a “queen” material conversion unit that supplies them using whatever is available in a particular geographical region; robotic termites. We might even be able to recycle waste products into home-building materials this way; converted through some white biotechnology (assuming we could properly test and regulate it).
This could lead to homes for the homeless. And you could have everyone participating in a solution. Imagine people collaborating in online spaces – even virtual spaces like Second Life or videogames – to develop housing solutions which could then be fabricated at low cost.
This is amazing stuff. The biggest hurdle will probably be the politics, the corruption and people playing selfish games. There’s a good one.
That is cool. I’ve been imaging that we are not that far away from this type of individual production, but I never imagined it being used in construction. I imagine the hurdles will be propery ownership and the architecture & construction lobbies arguing that builders should be licensed.
I first became aware of this technology being pursued with that article over on New Scientist, so I expected to hear further developments. But not at quite so quick a pace; there are doubtlessly people opposed to this (just as the theater owners of the world opposed the recent release of “Bubble”).
I’m unsure which “property ownership” you’re referring to – the ground on which something is created or the intellectual property. But the licensing/safety issues are a huge deal imo. But then I assume if someone makes there own home this way (they go to the rental store and get a few BuildBots), they take responsibility for the end result.
Now the fun part would be to have some hacker pirate what he believed to be a final home design (something nice but which is actually just some amateur 3D model), post it online illegally and then have some cheapskate millionaire d/l the file and build a home that collapses immediately after the expensive furniture is moved in!
Is there a “caveat emptor” version for “Builder Beware”?
Pingback: reBang weblog