Architecture and Design magazine has come up with a helpful inforgraphic that details some of the changes in construction techniques and technologies of the future that are happening now. We will look at each one in more detail after the graphic.
Autonomous Construction Robots
Researchers at Harvard have designed the Termes system. It uses self-organizing robots that are programmed to do one or two specific tasks and to stay out of each others way while doing them. Google is also developing its own autonomous crane robots, or crabots, that can re-configure the company’s new global headquarters so it can respond to changing organizational needs.
No doubt other robotic construction systems will emerge in the future as builders struggle with how to make sustainable structures while still making a profit.
3D printing was a bizarre new concept just a few years ago, but now it is becoming mainstream in the construction industry. 3D printing on-site reduces transportation and warehousing costs while cutting down on waste material generated during the construction process.
Wireless EV Recharging
Heavy equipment like trucks, cranes and earth moving equipment tend to spew out far more carbon dioxide emissions than passenger cars. Converting them to electric power dramatically reduces emissions and fuel costs. But waiting for an electric vehicle to recharge equals down time that many contractors prefer to do with out.
The answer may be wireless recharging — a system of induction coils built right into roads and highways that can recharge them as they go. This technology won’t be available for some time, but some car companies are working on wireless charging at home so EV owners won’t need to wrestle with a charging cable when they get home.
Many construction vehicles of tomorrow will not only run on electricity, they will be equipped with autonomous driving systems that let them shuttle back and forth to job sites without the need of a human driver.
Self Healing And Permeable Concrete
Self healing concrete has small organisms embedded within it. When air gets to them because of a crack, they work to form a new substance similar to limestone to repair the crack.
Permeable concrete is porous, which lets rainwater soak through into the ground below, rather than collecting in storm drain systems that empty into our lakes, rivers and oceans.
Plant Based Building Materials
Construction materials based on plants like hemp, kelp, bamboo and mushrooms are lighter and more sustainable than traditional materials. They also have excellent insulating properties and are completely biodegradable when their useful life is over.
Carbon Dioxide Building Materials
Scientists at MIT are using genetically modified yeast to make biodegradable glass and other construction materials from carbon dioxide. Their process produces two pounds of products for every pound of CO2.
People say the future happens suddenly and once it gets here, we wonder how we ever got along without all the wonders moderns science gives us. In ten years, this infographic will seem quaint and hopelessly out of date.