The urgency of shelter needs in disaster zones historically has led to unprecedented innovation that can then trickle into mainstream housing. Here, MIT takes a proactive approach to providing a solution for a disaster zone that can be embraced by current housing providers to solve a number of issues. Basically, they are inviting you to the future.

The future of construction just got a little bit more real. Researchers at MIT have created a mobile robot that can 3-D-print an entire building in a matter of hours — a technology that could be used in disaster zones, on inhospitable planets or even in our proverbial backyards.

Though the platform described in the journal Science Robotics is still in early stages, it could offer a revolutionary tool for the construction industry and inspire more architects to rethink the relationship of buildings to people and the environment.

Current construction practices typically involve bricklaying, wood framing and concrete casting – technologies that have been around for decades in some cases, and centuries in others. Homes and office buildings are often built in the same boxy, cookie-cutter-like templates, even though the environment from one area to another may change dramatically.

“The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) sector tends to be risk-averse: Most project fabrication data nowadays have been digitally produced, but the manufacturing and construction processes are mostly done with manual methods and conventional materials adopted a century ago,” Imperial College London researcher Guang-Zhong Yang, the journal’s editor, wrote in an editorial on the paper.

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