FastBrick Robotics (ASX:FBR) of Perth, Australia, have just been named Western Australia’s Innovator of the year for their bricklaying bot Hadrian X.
In March of this year we saw a miniature equivalent of Hadrian X in the Dutch Lab3D spinoff Pixelstone. Pixelstone was created by Lab3D exploring the possibilities of 3D printing for construction, and is a “3D printer” that puts down small square cubes in layers to make miniature contructs. Is is by no means as sophisticated as Fastbrick’s Hadrian X technology, but it does have the same basic principles at is heart.
Gif shows a time lapse of the Hadrian X laying bricks. Clip is taken from FastBrick Robotics on Youtube.
Returning to a human scale, the Hadrian X is capable of laying bricks around 10 times faster than the traditional means of bricklaying at a rate of 1,000 bricks an hour. It doesn’t require any of the same string guides set by a typical bricklayer, nor does it use traditional mortar. Instead, the Hadrian X calibrates to a construction area, and is then guided by lasers and a second arm to ‘print’ a building, programmed into it using CAD/CAM software. The program currently used by the Fastbrick team is our good friend SOLIDWORKS from Dassault Systèmes, but the company is working to develop an optimized architectural designer program for the Hadrian X.
Gif shows how bricks are loaded by the Hadrian X. Clip is taken from FastBrick Robotics on Youtube.
It does all of the loading, cutting and placement of bricks automatically, and uses a modern adhesive to cement the blocks together. It’s not only cost effective and time efficient, but the materials used also improve the thermal & acoustic qualities of a building.
Gif above shows a time lapse build of Atlantis in Minecraft. Clip taken from Minecraft Atlantis Castle Build Timelapse (The lost Kingdom) by OpticalCreeper on Youtube.
Trends in technology are being adopted more and more for their potential uses in education in an attempt to give pupils a more hands on and integrated way of learning. 3D printing programs, such as the India based 3Dexter, are cropping up all over the world, and earlier this week Microsoft launched the Minecraft Education Edition, complete with class resources and lesson plans for most subjects, including math, geography, social studies and even English.
Back in 2011, nobody was prepared for the popularity of a game that essentially sees a player building their entire gaming experience from scratch. But of course that is the beauty of Minecraft; players can craft almost any experience they could wish for. As it gradually became the thing to talk about on the playground, educators looked to Minecraft for learning solutions that prepare children for a new digital age, and to tap into some of the practical key skills that often get neglected in traditional teaching methods. In recent years we have seen its implication in teaching children to code, its potential as an introduction to 3D modeling and a developing pull towards teaching design and construction, especially when combined with 3D printing technologies. Minecraft has been so successful as a tool for teaching construction that this summer the Chartered Institute of Building released its own modification of the game called BeIMCraft, and ‘Craft Your Future’ lesson plans that seek to tap into this trend.
It is clear to see then how Fastbrick’s Hadrian X is a monumental shift for the future methods of construction. With the architects of tomorrow growing up with Minecraft, there’s no telling what the world may eventually look like. Hopefully its something like this…
and not this…
Featured image is the brick texture in Minecraft. Image via: Mojang