3D Printing’s Future Is Now At MIT

Much has been made about what a 3D printer can do, and now the latest one built at MIT can put together a whole building in just 14 hours, a process that just might make the construction industry obsolete soon. A team of engineers from MIT have been working on a giant 3D printer that’s been referred to as the Digital Construction Platform. The machine at first glance doesn’t look too much different than most of the tractors, bulldozers and scoops that you might see at a construction site, but then as you look closer and see how it’s producing the building material from its own tank you can see something totally futuristic.

 

This machine has been in the works for several years, a project that the MIT engineers got started when they had the ambition to help the construction industry speed up its building projects. But they may have accomplished a lot more than that without knowing it. This printer very well could be taking on a similar role that one might have only thought Skynet was capable of doing. So far this printer has only built simple structures such as dome-shaped buildings and other unsophisticated units and the time it’s taken to build these structures has been about 14 hours. But as the prototype becomes perfected its designers are planning to implement cognitive functions with it such as sensitivity to more building shapes, surrounding climate, weather and many other functions.

 

So could you be seeing robots build your house already? The time for that may not yet be here but could very well be here sooner than you think. More and more robotic machinery is starting to take hold in manufacturing, construction, and even retail and other services. 3D printers are one way that robotics are becoming mainstream, but the question still remains whether or not they will be the industry’s best friend or greatest enemy. There certainly will be cheaper prices in building materials in the future, but equipment operators may be leaving the driver’s seat as well.