The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is constantly researching ways to improve construction process and materials, like this material 10 times the strength of steel, or this solar cell that’s lighter than a soap bubble, or this “reversible concrete.” This time the Institute is showing off its autonomous robot that can spit out building structures on site within hours.
This robotic arm concept, which you see in the video at the bottom of this article, has a lot of the same characteristics as the Russian Apis Cor robotic arm 3D printer that recently completed the structure of a concrete house in less than 24 hours. Both robots are mobile, allowing them to visit any job site, and they’re also adaptable to the specific site conditions.
The thing that sets the MIT robot apart from the Apis Cor version is that MIT’s is being designed to be completely self-sufficient, as it even has an excavator bucket attached to it in order to obtain local materials. It also can be powered by the on-board solar panels, so no need to plug it in in certain circumstances.
Like many 3D printing companies today, this is only a proof of concept and the next step is widely expected to be disaster relief, where labor and materials are hard to come by. The idea of providing adequate shelter in times of need in less than 24 hours is certainly an exciting concept. Stephen Keating, PhD, one of the researchers on this project, has his sights set on different planets, as well. “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,” Keating told MIT News.
The video below shows a foam insulation being placed as a concrete form, but the printing nozzles are able to be swapped out based upon the material being used. Built-in sensors can allow the robot to make on-site adjustments with respect to temperature and light, as well.
Full Story: 3-D printing offers new approach to making buildings | MIT News
JBKnowledge, a construction technology and consultancy company, has been producing their annual Construction Technology Report since 2012. Now in its 7th year, it is far and away the most comprehensive collection of survey results in the construction technology sector.
I’m a strong proponent of reducing the amount of pen and paper used on construction jobsites. Handwriting notes is great for personal use, but as soon as you need to get those notes or reports to someone else, you either spend time duplicating your work on a computer or never get around to communicating, because your notes were misplaced, destroyed, or illegible. Fieldwire, a field software for collaborating on plans, punch lists, and scheduling, among others, has recently announced the release of a custom form building tool to reduce the need for paper on your jobsite.
As much as we like to push for the digitization of the construction jobsite on Construction Junkie, there’s no doubt that there are many within the construction workforce that are still apprehensive to go fully electronic. There’s something to be said for feeling and manipulating something with your hands, as opposed to pointing and clicking. SlatPlanner is a new way that construction companies can electronically build a project schedule, while maintaining a hands-on approach.
Ekso Bionics has been making exoskeletons since 2005. Originally designed with the military in mind, but then later shifted to physical therapy. In more recent years, they have begun targeting more physical professions, especially those with repetitive tasks or a lot of lifting. One of their most recent products is called the EksoVest.
As mobile apps and project management software are becoming more prominent on construction sites around the world, it’s important that those getting ready to enter the industry, whether it be through college or trade schools, get the training they need to hit the ground running with these programs. PlanGrid,a construction project management and mobile productivity software, has recently announced the release of PlanGrid Schools & Unions, which gives access to hands-on training curriculum and software licenses to industry educators.
When we first began talking about construction technology in 2015, there were a lot of pie-in-the-sky ideas. Many products had financial backing, but no legitimate proof of concept or path to a commercial market. Fast forward just 3 years and many of those same products are starting to hit limited jobsites and have a viable chance to succeed in the industry.
Autodesk, the software company synonymous with architectural and engineering design, has gobbled up yet another construction related software just a few week after its massive acquisition of PlanGrid. It’s most recent acquisition, BuildingConnected, will help bolster Autodesk’s growing construction brand and help them grow additional profit pipelines.
Almost 3 years ago, Milwaukee Tool rolled out its tool tracking application called ONE-KEY, which is available on Apple, Android, or the web. The tool manufacturer has an ever-expanding line of tools that are ONE-KEY enabled, which not only let users edit the settings of their tools through an app, but they also allow them to lock out a tool, rendering it useless in case it’s lost or stolen.
Fresh of the heels of their $875 Million Acquisition by Autodesk, PlanGrid has released several enhancements to streamline your processes. Through the release of PlanGrid Connect and a couple other enhancements, it will now be easier than ever for users to reduce manual data entry across multiple applications.
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