There's a housing crisis going on around the globe. Populations are on the rise and city centers just can't meet the ever-growing demand. By 2050, the United Nations projects that there will be 9.2 billion humans on Earth. We're gonna need to house those 2.2 billion new residents, and an industrial engineering professor from USC thinks he's figured out how.
Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis has come up with a 3D printer concept so massive that it can print an entire 2,500 square foot home, and it can do it in just 24 hours. The printer consists of two crane-like arms and a crossbeam which houses the printhead. By printing super quick drying cement, professor Khoshnevis believes the printer would be capable of completing a two-story building in just under a day.
This is not to say that the concept 3D printer would be capable of completing a home all on its own. Construction workers would be needed to prep the space where the 3D printer would sit and they'd still need to lay down the foundation. Window head jambs and a metal ceiling between the floors would have to be laid either by hand or by cranes, and construction crews would be needed to finish the project.
This isn't the first time a 3D printer has been thought of as a construction tool. NASA wants to use them to construct massive spacecraft and there's even a plan floating around to 3D print a moon base with robot construction workers. As we see it, if we're going to start building whole living environments with 3D printers, the smart thing to do might be to start at home.