We wrote about Dr. Berokh Khoshnevis’ revolutionary robot-builder that could 3D print entire houses, and now the ‘contour crafting’ technology has caught the eye of NASA and multinational building firms. Khoshnevis, a professor at the University of Southern California, was given a grant by NASA to use the technology to work on designing structures that can be built on the moon and other planets that could one day be colonized by humans.
The huge 3D printer uses a building technique called contour crafting, which extrudes concrete walls in layers; it can also fabricate electrical wiring, plumbing, etc. According to Khoshnevis, this way of building not only reduces construction costs up to 40 percent but also drastically cuts waste and carbon emissions.
The robotic system has so far printed six-foot tall segments of houses, according to Khoshnevis, using arms and nozzles controlled by a complex computerized gantry system. If the process could be accelerated and simplified to become more affordable, buildings could be constructed entirely by machines, just like most of the products we use today. Khoshnevis claims the technology could have a huge positive impact and a wide application in building affordable and low-income housing.
One of the possible applications includes building in space, and NASA has given Khoshnevis a grant to experiment with lunar structures and buildings that would be erected on other potential Earth-like planets. Additionally, Khoshnevis was commissioned by a multinational firm to work on ‘specialized structures’ but he is not allowed to discuss it.