MIT Develops Mobile Robot for 3D Printing Buildings

A group of engineers from MIT have been working on a project since 2011 that may soon find use in distant worlds such as Mars. It is a mobile robot, capable of 3D printing buildings and structures and it is able to do so within 14 hours. They call this the “Digital Construction Platform” and as a demonstration, the group has made a video of it creating a 50-foot diamter, 12-foot high dome.

The Digital Construction Platform (DCP) consists of a tracked vehicle equipped with an industrial robotic arm with smaller, precision-motion robotic arms towards the end. These precision-motion arms are use to direct the construction nozzle and it can be utilized in various ways including pouring concrete, laying on insulation material or it can be outfitted with a milling head for fabrication. It can also be used to prepare the ground for construction and can be used to acquire materials for building.

This robot is designed with off-world use in mind such as building structures in the arctic, moon or Mars, and it was built to be a mobile, stand-alone unit powered with a solar panels. It can also find use when deployed to remote locations or as disaster relief units to provide rapid shelter.


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