30 June 2014, 18:10

Mini builder drones capable of making 3D printed houses

Mini builder drones capable of making 3D printed houses

Mini builder drones are now capable of creating 3D printed houses. Thanks to Sasa Jokic and Petr Novikov, robotic concrete mixers could be the next biggest trend to hit home improvement stores, if their invention is successful. The duos creations are named Minibuilders and the swarm of mini drones could easily 3D print a house.

Robotic machines that can 3D print at an architectural level are nothing new however, the technical way with these devices makes this idea seem very realistic. Past trials used huge gantry-based systems that can place thick ropes of concrete to build a shelter. Still, for such types of systems to be deemed successful, it is necessary for them to be bigger than the structure they are trying to create. The size of the design being constructed could become an expensive venture, depending on the scale of the project. The expense of the architectural design could hinder the limits of the building being built.

These Minibuilders actually work in the same exact way as a crane-like machine would to put in layers of builder material, though there is one distinct difference. It designs in a more modest way all while approaching the design technique from a different angle, according to an article from Wired.

"The concept of Minibuilders is much more than these three robots, it's about any construction robots capable of working in teams to create structures much bigger than themselves." says " says Jokić, as stated in a Wired article, then he continued on, "We chose to make these three robots because they are all essential to fabricate the most important building elements like walls and ceilings, but the family of Minibuilders can be endlessly extended adding robots with diverse functionalities, from painting to insulation and beyond." In the short video below, the Minibuilders can be seen in action.

What is most impressive about these drones is how raw they appear. Besides getting assistance from Jokic and Novikov, the project was supported with a skeleton group made up of many players, including Shihui Jin, Stuart Maggs, Dori Sadan and Cristina Nan at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia with funding from Russian tech incubator SDVentures, according to Wired.

The framework of the robots were created by an open source entity called Erector Set. With tiny refinements here and there to both the hardware and software elements, it is easy to accept how quickly these builders could put the traditional ones out of business or at least decrease their popularity amongst the general public.

"We're sure that Minibuilders will play a big and important role in the future of robotic construction and definitely want to continue this research," says Novikov. "We also encourage other researchers to explore this field; for that reason we shared papers with technical details of our robots."




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