The IAAC robots in action creating a structure using printied building materials (via IAAC)
A team of architects from the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) have created a team of robots that aim to take over the construction industry... well, kind-of.
Their team of tiny drones works together to build architectural structures using 3D printing technology. They use three types of drones to build structures far greater than their size: a foundation robot, a grip robot, and a vacuum robot. There is also a supplier robot which connects to the tiny drones via tubing to supply the 3D printing materials.
Foundation bot, this is the part that does the actual printing... the rest is support (via IAAC)
First, the foundation robots move according to a predetermined path, and use specialized printing materials that harden to form the shell of a ‘house’. They build the first 20 layers of the house which becomes the foundation, upon which the grip robots can work their magic. The grip robots then work together to grip onto the 20 layer foundation and build upon it to create greater height on the existing walls. But that isn’t the cool part. The grip robots can move and cure the printing material fast enough to print horizontally, to create ceilings, window lintels, and door lintels. It is needless to say that the structures created can be freeform.
Finally, the vacuum robots fortify the structure by adding depth to the walls and filling in any cracks or compromises in the structure. They hold onto the wall via suction cups, hence their name, which gives them the ability to move almost anywhere on the structure to complete their task.
The structures created so far are impressive for robots of their size, but are still perhaps not suitable for a typical standard of living. However, these aren’t the only robots being used for construction.
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology has created drones, which can use string to weave together a rope bridge. This is pretty nifty since flying drones can easily reach heights we only dream of. In actual practice, who knows whether entire cities will be built by drones. But the IAAC robots still need specific schematics from architects, so it is comforting knowing that humans will still be necessary in this process.
See more news at: