Contour Crafting just won a major design prize for its ability to 3D print large-scale structures from computer-aided design (CAD) files. Berokh Kohshnevis‘ “robotic building construction” system can print entire buildings quickly and efficiently, and it has the potential to provide reliable housing in post-disaster situations. The technology won the grand prize in the 2014 Create The Future Design Contest hosted by NASA Tech Briefs, and Contour Crafting will receive $20,000 and a special feature in the magazine.

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Contour Crafting is the world’s first and only large-scale 3D printing technology, and could have major influences on how our homes are designed and built. How it works is very cool. Walls are formed via extrusion of a paste-like material similar to concrete and smoothed by a robotic trowel. They can be built in all manner of forms ranging from traditional ‘boxy’ styles to more modern curved designs – and needless to say architects are very interested in Contour Crafting’s capabilities.

Related: How 3D Printing Will Change Our World Forever

There is, however, still quite a bit of testing left to do before this technology gets widely deployed. According to bustler: “In the short term, successful testing of the specimen structures built by the technology such that they outperform alternative manual on-site and prefab construction methods (wood frame, brick, concrete, etc.) will be ideal . . . The ultimate long term outcome is the revolutionizing of the construction industry.

+ Contour Crafting

Via bustler

Images via USC