3D Printing Architecture: Revolutionizing the Construction Industry

The Problem

“The big difference between 3D printing and manufacturing on site is that you’re almost entirely skipping the fabrication part. There are huge potential time, labour and transportation savings to be made, compared to traditional construction methods – however, the cost of 3D-printed materials is still far higher than regular bricks and blocks.” Source

Technology Summary

  • 3D printing is not going to replace brick and concrete buildings. I think it’s more going to be the case that we’ll start printing brick and concrete.
  • The project is not about exploring new architectural possibilities but rather generating discussion about the future of design and construction.
  • Existing 3D printers are only able to produce homogeneous materials that have the same properties throughout. But graded materials would be useful for printing architectural elements – such as beams or façades that mimic bone, which is hard on the outside but spongy on the inside.
  • Robotic arms can be used to print in traditional materials, such as plastic, concrete or composites, or employed to weave or knit three-dimensional fibre structures.
  • In the future, buildings may be constructed by swarms of tiny robots that use a combination of printing and weaving techniques.

The Technology Stakeholders

  • 3D Printing Companies
  • Construction Material Manufacturers
  • Architects
  • Contractors
  • Building Clients

Process of Technology Implementation

  • Encourage Architecture + Design Competitions
  • Research + Development to Create more Innovative Technologies
  • Develop 3D Printing Construction-compatible Materials
  • Replicate pilot in multiple locations worldwide
  • Share new technology and best practices

Smart Highways Generate Their Own Energy to Make Driving Safer

The Problem

“SMART HIGHWAY are interactive and sustainable roads of tomorrow by designer Daan Roosegaarde and Heijmans Infrastructure. The goal is to make smart roads by using light, energy and road signs that interact with the traffic situation to make highway driving safer and more efficient.” Source

Technology Summary

  • Temperature-responsive road paint would show images of snowflakes when the temperature drops below zero, warning drivers to take care on icy roads.
  • Two ideas for roadside lighting: interactive street lamps that come on as vehicles approach then dim as they pass by, thereby saving energy when there is no traffic, and “wind lights” that use energy generated by pinwheels as drafts of air from passing vehicles cause them to spin round.
  • An induction priority lane would incorporate induction coils under the tarmac to recharge electric cars as they drive.
  • Glow-in-the-dark road that uses photo-luminescent paint to mark out traffic lanes. The paint absorbs energy from sunlight during the day the lights the road at night for up to 10 hours.

The Technology Stakeholders

  • SkaleAlert App Developers
  • Cell Phone GPS Developers
  • Residents who live in earthquake-prone areas
  • Real estate owners in earthquake-prone areas

Process of Technology Implementation

  • Identify areas with the greatest need for early warning systems
  • Market the app to gain buy-in from the majority of the public
  • Update software and firmware to allow raw GPS data on smartphones
  • Deploy app, encourage downloading in identified areas
  • Replicate pilot in multiple locations worldwide
  • Share new technology and best practices

 

Crowdsourcing for Early Earthquake Detection

PROBLEM:

“Scientists have found that just a few seconds of warning before an earthquake hits can make a big difference. People have time to get to a safer location, surgeries can be stopped and other protections can be implemented. While early warning systems exist, many areas prone to earthquakes don’t have them because the technology is still very expensive.” Source.

TECHNOLOGY SUMMARY:

  • ShakeAlert is still in the R&D phase but holds the promise of the first earthquake early warning system which uses GPS and seismometers.
  • By downloading the ShakeAlert app, the GPS technology in most smartphones is sensitive enough to detect horizontal and vertical movement as small as one centimeter.
  • If several ShakeAlert apps identified the same horizontal and vertical movement within an area, it would likely be the first jolt of an earthquake and a warning could be sent to everyone’s phones to get to a safe area.
  • The greatest impact this technology would have is in parts of the world that wouldn’t afford to build cost-prohibitive high-technology seismometers which are so common in more developed countries.
  • The vast majority of the world does not have any kind of early warning systems for earthquakes, but what they do have in great numbers are smartphones.

The Technology Stakeholders

  • SkaleAlert App Developers
  • Cell Phone GPS Developers
  • Residents who live in earthquake-prone areas
  • Real estate owners in earthquake-prone areas

Process of Technology Implementation

  • Identify areas with the greatest need for early warning systems
  • Market the app to gain buy-in from the majority of the public
  • Update software and firmware to allow raw GPS data on smartphones
  • Deploy app, encourage downloading in identified areas
  • Replicate pilot in multiple locations worldwide
  • Share new technology and best practices