The housing crisis could be solved with 3D printing

Almost every manufacturing job is automated these days. Very little man power is needed as the robots take over, but construction is one of those few areas that we thought were safe. Not so fast. Although humanoids aren’t going to be walking around the construction site any time soon, 3D printing might revolutionise how we build houses.

The WikiHouseCC was a step in that direction. Users could download plans, send it to a CNC machine, and pieces to their house would be cut out of plywood.

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Contour Crafting has gone in and taken it one step further. Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis at The University of Southern California has designed a giant 3D printer capable of using concrete as its print material. Also attached to it is a robotic arm for picking up and placing beams and supports. Using this machine, a 2,500 square foot home was built in 24 hours.

The team behind the Contour Crafter, as the rig is known, envision it as becoming an affordable and reliable solution to housing in 3rd world countries or after disasters such as the recent Typhoon Haiyan in the Phillipines. The structures built by the Contour Crafter would also be stronger than traditional methods of building, Khoshnevis told MSN.

“The tested wall is a 10,000PSI (pounds per square inch) strength compared to an average of 3,000PSI for a regular wall.”

It is safe to say that the majority of construction jobs will probably not completely disappear in the next 100 years due to inventions like this, but this is just the tip of the iceberg in the realm of new technology which will eventually steal employment.

At this point, the side of the fence I want to be on is certainly the one that makes the technology.

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