Stone Spray Robot: robotics, 3D printing and sustainable architecture
It is increasingly common to hear or read news related to 3D printing, ie the ability to play three-dimensional objects from computer-generated virtual models (using CAD tools and 3D design). Gradually, 3D printed objects are being introduced in many applications such as orthopedics , the architecture , the reproduction of works of art or even in the field of space exploration , examples that demonstrate the great potential of this technique of reproduction and manufacture of objects. One area of application that draws more attention, as well as medicine, is the Architecture and it may seem that we are far from print our own homes , many researches working in this field, and precisely in the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia have combined robotics, 3D printing and natural materials to make sand structures, perhaps, can lead to much more friendly homes with our environment.
The team of researchers from the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia formed by Inder Shergill, Anna Kulik yPetr Novikov, set the objective to develop construction techniques who were using natural materials and therefore environmentally friendly (eliminating harmful components to the environment .) With that idea, and thinking about developing techniques that facilitate the construction, put the focus on 3D printing because this technique involves the deposition, with a high degree of precision, layers of material with which to form a structure and, following this orientation, have designed a robot arm using a spray to shape structures.
Like an inkjet printer is concerned, the robot arm, called Stone Spray Robot uses a spray of sand, water and curing agents in building a three-dimensional structure in the same way you would a 3D printer, ie overlaying layers. For now the project is at an early stage and although able to develop three-dimensional structures, even doing something away from being able to develop structures that support housing (although the material obtained is able to resist wind erosion and water despite be based on sand).
According to these researchers, perhaps in the future these techniques could be used to build temporary housing, for example, if a natural disaster, but for now, what matters most is that you can use environmentally friendly materials in construction and so eliminate “Inert cement blocks” that are built today.