LOS ANGELES, May 1 (Xinhua) -- U.S. researchers have designed a robotic system that can 3D print the basic structure of an entire building less than 14 hours.
Called the Digital Construction Platform, the new system is basically a compound arm system composed of hydraulic and electric robotic arms carried on a tracked mobile platform, according to a paper recently published in the journal Science Robotics.
As a proof of concept, MIT researchers used a prototype to build the basic structure of the walls of a 14.6-m-diameter, 3.7-m-tall open dome formwork structure -- a project that was completed under 13.5 hours of "printing" time.
The system is still at the proof-of-concept stage, but it is designed to work in the construction sites of the future. The robotic system could offer a revolutionary tool for the construction industry. The MIT team that created it hopes that automating construction will cut costs and boost worker safety.
One day, it may even help humans colonize space, autonomously building houses on other planets before human settlers arrive.
The ultimate vision is "in the future, to have something totally autonomous, that you could send to the moon or Mars or Antarctica, and it would just go out and make these buildings for years," Steven Keating, who led the development of the system as his doctoral thesis work, said in a statement.