MIT has created a robot that is capable of printing the entire basic structure of a building. Most importantly, the system can be powered with solar panels.
Recently, physicist Stephen Hawking shared his belief that within 100 years, humans will need to colonize nearby planets – such as Mars – to survive. He cited climate change and overpopulation as two major contributors to this necessity. With the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) new 3D solar printer, building structures on other planets could be easier than once thought.
To show the technology off, the Institute constructed a 12-foot-high, 50-foot wide dome out of foam insulation framework, reports Inhabitat. In just 14 hours, the structure was completed. Said engineering graduate Steven Keating, who worked on the project:
“The construction industry is still mostly doing things the way it has for hundreds of years.”
Though the robot could hypothetically be used on other planets, it will receive plenty of use on Earth, as well. In addition to being able to move objects, the technology could make the process of constructing buildings faster and less expensive. For instance, an architect could use the robot to customize a structure to fit the desired aesthetics and size requirements of a space. Additionally, the technology would allow for a variety of materials to be utilized and a variation in material density.
The robot is composed of a vehicle with a large arm, with a second smaller and more precise arm a the end. The truck also has a scoop, so the truck can assist with preparing an ideal building area.
3D printing has come a long way in recent years. Following are images of MIT’s new 3D printing robot that is can run on solar energy:
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