Just a few days ago we discussed how Artificial Intelligence-related fields are developing increasingly sophisticated methods to help machines learn by themselves. We can no longer imagine a future in which robots or intelligent systems are not part of our domestic life or collaborate with us in professional works that were exclusive to human beings up to now.
It is just a matter of time until this smart and robotic help arrives to the field of construction. Pay attention to these three promising prototypes that we have come across, which could be available pretty soon: robotic construction workers, ready to be part of the most innovative bricklayer crews.
Hadrian X. the robotic bricklayer capable of building a house in two days
Australian company Fastbrick Robotics presented a little over a year ago its first robotic bricklayer project, Hadrian 105, to showcase the viability of their technology. But now they surprise us with an improved model capable of building, if working around the clock, a house in just two days.
This robot, called Hadrian X, features a mechanical arm integrated into a truck that carries it around to perform different construction works, such as laying 1000 bricks in only an hour. Bricks move over a conveyor system inside its arm and, thanks to a sensor and a laser, Hadrian X is capable of building up the walls leaving room for doors, windows, wiring or plumbing installation, according to the layout programmed by the builders. An invaluable assistant for working crews that, allegedly, would cost two million euros and could be on duty from 2019 on.
SAM, a robot capable of laying 3000 bricks per day
We find a similar project promoted by the company Construction Robotics in USA, in this case by the name of SAM, and according to its creators it has been capable of breaking the records of the most skilful workers by laying over 3000 bricks per day. SAM (Semi-automated Mason) does not work on his own but alongside two human workers in order to achieve such a frenzied task.
SAM is comprised of a moving platform adaptable to the qualities of the construction site, a conveyor, a robotic arm and a concrete pump. While an operator loads the robot with bricks, another bricklayer smooths concrete down which, previously, has been poured by SAM over every block in position. This collaborative effort between man and machine has already been implemented in USA and has just arrived to the United Kingdom, where it will become operational in just two years.
In Situ Fabricator1, a robotic bricklayer working with finesse
The robotic proposal from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich for construction environments is called In Situ Fabricator1 and features a distinctive breakthrough: it’s capable of being aware of its location and surroundings and building up the walls accordingly and precisely.
In Situ Fabricator1 features a series of cameras and sensors to map its surroundings, and internal processors that allow it to manage the tasks programmed by operators. Thanks to this technology deployment, the robotic bricklayer can build up walls at the exact location by contrasting its map with the designs of the architect.
Its first demo project has been to perform the construction of a 6.5 m long, 2 m high double brick wall comprised of more than 1600 blocks. With the help of geolocation and that ability to anticipate the conditions in its surroundings, the resulting wall is built by bricks laid with a precision of less than 7 mm, a fine work almost worthy of an artisan. In addition, it features internet connectivity so that architects can make adjustments according to the designs in real time whenever necessary.