Daily Planet

MIT’s 3D construction-printer research envisions printing living buildings

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is working on the world’s most advanced 3D-printer for construction, which it hopes will be able to source and build with local and biosynthesised materials.  

Pictured above, and shown in the video below, is the Digital Construction Platform a four-tonne solar powered robot arm on tank tracks. It can move freely, quickly printing large structures, producing complex shapes from ground level.

Although still a working proof-of-concept, the DCP’s most notable practical achievement to date is a  a 50-foot-wide dome, constructed from the inside, made from stock-insulating foam spray. Foam spray, however, is just a test material — the longer-term aim is for the DCP to source, mix and spray with locally found materials, including dirt, dust, organic building materials, animal proteins or even photosynthetic E. coli, to print “living buildings”.

MIT’s Mediated Matter Group, the group leading the project, has already synthesised plastics from squid and cuttlefish, materials which it imagines might one day be programmed to change color in the presence of CO2, or self-repair.



You can learn more about the DCP test at http://matter.media.mit.edu/environments/details/3d-printed-hemi-ellipsoidal-dome or read the full interview on Fast Co Design https://www.fastcodesign.com/90112323/this-mit-robot-could-build-your-next-house-completely-out-of-local-materials