But, robots on jobsites?
"Yes," says Dr. Khoshnevis, an engineering professor at the University of Southern California, who is betting on home building becoming part of that continuum.
Since 2002, he has been perfecting "Contour Crafting,” a fabrication process that operates on the principles of 3D printing.
Details like cutting window and door openings still are being refined. Khoshnevis has been soliciting investment capital for a startup company to sell the technology. He sees Contour Crafting as being suited for constructing affordable housing in areas where supply is short or where houses have been destroyed by natural disasters. He predicts the technology would reduce jobsite injuries, leave a smaller carbon footprint, and be cost-competitive with stick-built or modular construction after equipment and cycle times are amortized.
His invention might have residual benefits, too. Khoshnevis is working with NASA on a robotic system that could build structures on the moon and Mars using indigenous raw materials such as volcanic sand, which is common on the moon. That’s gotten the state of Hawaii—where volcanic sand abounds—interested in the process for producing cement.
How many years away do you think this technology is to being on jobsites?