A group of researchers from the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) in Barcelona are working to develop a team of tiny robots that can quickly and cheaply construct buildings of any size.
Dubbed "Minibuilders", the robots were designed as an alternative solution to 3-D printers, which can be slow, inefficient and face equipment restrictions when tasked with constructing something as big as a house.
The robots work in teams of three to construct structures on site, layer by layer in one continuous process.
Each Minibuilder carries out a different task based on instructions provided to it by a central computer, in conjunction with its own sensors and local positioning systems.
Foundation robots move in a track, building up the first 20 layers of the structure, and then a series of "grip" robots clamp on the top or sides adding more layers, ceilings, and frames for windows or doors. Vacuum robots attach on at the end to add a layer to reinforce everything.
An additional "Supplier" robot provides the liquid building material to each of the Minibuilders, as required.
The IAAC researchers have only completed a demonstration piece using the robot technology but believe that in the theory, the Minibuilders could create objects of virtually any scale.
The video below shows the Minibuilders in action.
Minibuilders Trailer from STEREOTACTIC on Vimeo.
Courtesy Fast Company