Affordable homes could also come from the application of 3D printers on a much larger scale.
Kathleen Miles reports
The technology, called Contour Crafting, is already here and can build a 2,500-square-foot home in 20 hours.
The massive robot printer was invented by University of Southern California professor Behrokh Khoshnevis, who says that the technology is so versatile that it can be used to build homes in slums or human habitats on Mars.
The technology is ideal for the world’s slums and areas destroyed by natural disasters, claims Khoshnevis, because the robot’s construction is cheaper, stronger, faster, safer and more eco-friendly than manual construction.
Khoshnevis also says NASA is supportive of using the technology to build lunar habitats, laboratories and roads on the Moon or Mars that could eventually house human life. NASA did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
He points out that construction is far behind manufacturing when it comes to automation.
And instead of churning out the same parts over and over again like we have in traditional manufacturing, you can print out a different 3D house on every run. Just send it different instructions.
The robot can also tile the floors, install plumbing, install electrical wiring and even paint or apply wallpaper.
Khoshnevis disputes concerns about potential job losses from such technology. In fact, he says it will create new jobs that are safer and that will allow women and older workers to participate more in the construction industry.
Khoshnevis is planning to establish a company to commercialize the technology and hopefully make it available for purchase in a few years, he told the USC student newspaper Daily Trojan.
Ultimately, Khoshnevis thinks that Contour Crafting will replace construction as we know it, reduce costs and make construction accessible to anyone.
“Imagine a Contour Crafting machine for lease at you local Home Depot,” the researcher’s site reads.
Recovering from disasters such earthquakes, cyclones or tsunamis could also be dramatically improved.
It may be a little too easy to think of this as far fetched stuff that we won’t see in our life time, but who could have foreseen smart phones when the first man set foot on the moon?
One thing is for sure. 3D printing has the potential to be the next revolution in how mankind gets ahead.