Aerial AM Cementitious 3D print using a custom-built drone with a delta-arm manipulator.
(Image: Aerial Robotics Lab, Imperial college)
Researchers including Weitzman’s Robert Stuart-Smith have made a swarm of bee-inspired drones that can collectively 3D print material while in flight, allowing unbounded manufacturing for building and repairing structures.
The advent of 3D printing has changed many industries by allowing researchers, students, entrepreneurs and massive factories to rapidly transform a digital design into a tangible object. Through a collaboration with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the Imperial College London, Empa researchers have created a swarm of bee-inspired drones that can collectively 3D print material while in flight, allowing limitless manufacturing for building and repairing structures.
3D printing is increasingly being used within the construction industry. However, challenges to its deployment include that the machines are confined to construction capabilities based on their size and ability to be transported.
This novel approach to 3D printing addresses these challenges by using flying robots, also known as drones, and utilizes collective building methods inspired by natural cooperative builders like bees and wasps. The drone fleet, known as Aerial Additive Manufacturing, works cooperatively from a single blueprint, adapting its techniques as it goes. They are fully autonomous while flying but are monitored by a human controller who checks progress and intervenes, if necessary, based on the information provided by the drone.
The project emerged from a longstanding collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania’s Robert Stuart-Smith, an assistant professor of architecture in the Stuart Weitzman School of Design and Penn Engineering GRASP Lab Affiliate Faculty, and Mirko Kovac, a professor at Imperial College London and the Swiss Federal Laboratories of Materials Science and Technology, who had both been pursuing pilot research around the topic. The pair’s project was developed over several years by an interdisciplinary team of researchers led by Kovac together with Stuart-Smith and co-investigators Stefan Leutenegger, Vijay Pawar, Richard Ball, Chris Williams, and Paul Shephard, along with their research teams at Penn, Imperial College, University College London, University of Bath, Queen Mary University of London, and Technical University of Munich.
“It is exciting research with potential to impact the way we build in hard-to-access, dangerous, or challenging height location areas, like tall buildings and bridges,” says Stuart-Smith. “While this work is at an early proof-of-concept stage, its approach to distributed, adaptive manufacturing aligns to an exciting trend in construction and new opportunities for building design.”
The team’s work is the subject of a recent paper in Nature, “Aerial additive manufacturing with multiple autonomous robots.”
Moving forward, the researchers will work with construction companies to validate their developed solutions and provide repair and manufacturing capabilities. They believe the technology will provide significant cost savings and reduce risks compared to traditional manual methods. “At Penn,” continues Stuart-Smith, “we are currently developing building design solutions that leverage this construction approach as we continue to collaborate with our colleagues in London and Switzerland, and in dialogue with industrial partners who are interested in furthering the capabilities of this research.”
More from: University of Pennsylvania | Imperial College London | Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology | University of Bath | Queen Mary University of London | Technical University of Munich
The Latest Updates from Bing News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Aerial additive manufacturing
- How to overcome Nigeria’s security, economic, challenges – ex-NASENI EVC
“These technologies include artificial intelligence; robotics; the internet of things (IoT); big data; blockchain; additive manufacturing; autonomous vehicles; unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV); gene ...
- Insights Into Challenges And Opportunities Of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Logistics Market
COVID-19 Impact on the Global Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Logistics market: ...
- 3D printing is set to redefine aerospace and defence logistics, says GlobalData
Contrary to traditional manufacturing methods, 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing ... Laboratory's project to enable in-field unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) manufacturing, 3D ...
- Aerial photos reveal work progressing on The Line megacity
A set of aerial images has revealed work progressing on The Line megacity, Oxagon port and Sindalah resort, which are being built as part of Neom in Saudi Arabia. The images, shared by The Line's ...
- Industrializing additive manufacturing in the defense/aerospace sector
Over the last 13 years, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) has explored the use of polymer/composite and metal additive manufacturing (AM ... parts themselves via the company’s ...
Go deeper with Bing News on:
3D printed construction
- 3D printing affordable, sustainable and resilient housing in Alaska
HUD's interests align with the SCDC's mission "to integrate digital technology into design and construction processes," according to Duarte. When he came to Penn State in 2016, Duarte started ...
- Dubai: Villas can be 3D-printed in as little as 2 weeks, says firm
Dubai-based 3D printing technology for construction company Printstone3D said the gatehouse has a canopy that is nearly triple the size of the building itself. A communications hub with CCTV cameras ...
- The Viewfinder: Kind Designs uses huge 3D printer to make eco-friendly seawalls (photos)
Kind Designs does not sell directly to consumers. It prints the seawall panels at its Miami facility and then sells them to construction contractors, who install them in coastal areas. Dock and Marine ...
- The future of architecture is here: Detroit's first 3D-printed house is complete
The house took a year and three months to complete and is now being sold at a capped price of $224,500 by Keller Williams Realty.
- Can 3D Printing Help Address the Affordable Housing Crisis in the United States?
The construction is faster, cleaner and more affordable, but experts acknowledge some trial and error is needed ...