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Mobile Robots Cooperate to 3D Print Large Structures

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Mobile robots three-dimensionally printing together.

Nanyang Technological University researchers used two mobile robots operating concurrently to three-dimensionally-print a concrete structure.

Credit: Nanyang Technological University

Researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have for the first time used two mobile robots operating concurrently to three-dimensionally-print a single piece of concrete structure.

This system can be used to build structures that are relatively arbitrary in size without having to change the system significantly, since the robots themselves can define their own build volume by moving around.

Although the robots are restricted in how high they can reach because of their mobile bases, they still have more flexibility than other systems in terms of length and width.

The multiple-robot system will improve overall printing speed, and can create stronger, more complex structures.

In terms of potential applications, the researchers say a fleet of mobile robots could enable construction "in hard-to-reach, remote areas, such as underground caves, the Moon, or Mars, to which it is inconvenient or even impossible to bring other kinds of [machines] required for existing cementitious material printing methods."

From IEEE Spectrum
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