Robot May Build with Mud

In a laboratory in Los Angeles early this year, a robot armed with a concrete pump built its first wall. Just a small wall, about a yard wide, a foot high and an inch thick, but beautifully formed in a graceful oval sweep. Iranian born engineer Behrokh Khoshnevis has tested his prototype with cement but believes adobe, a mix of mud and straw that is dried by the Sun, could be suitable. The chief advantages of the Contour Crafting process over existing technologies are the superior surface finish that is realized and the greatly enhanced speed of fabrication. The success of the technology stems from the automated use of age-old tools normally wielded by hand, combined with conventional robotics and an innovative approach to building three-dimensional objects that allows rapid fabrication times. Professor Khoshnevis believes that his technology will make it possible to build a house from foundation to roof in less than 24 hours: “Our goal,” he says, “is to be able to completely construct a one-storey 185-square-metre home on site in one day, without using human hands.”

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