Tiny Swarm of Robots Comprise the Construction Workers of the Future

Researchers design a tiny team of robots to make construction sites more efficient and less costly.
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Researchers design a tiny team of robots to make construction sites more efficient and less costly.

Photo Credit: Advanced Architecture of Catalonia

While the designing process of buildings has come a long way with new digital tools and other advancements in technology, construction sites have remained pretty much the same. They are inefficient, expensive, and often wasteful. Researchers at the Advanced Architecture of Catalonia have designed tiny robots to change the way construction sites run. 

The small robots work in teams to squirt out material that hardens to create the shell of the building. The foundation robots build the first 20 layers of the structure, then a team of grip robots add more layers, ceilings and window/door frames. Vacuum robots then add a layer at the end to reinforce everything. 

“If you want to make an object as big as a stadium or a skyscraper you’ll need to design a machine bigger than that object in at least one axis,” said researchers Petr Novikov and Sasa Jokic. “Making such machines isn’t economically reasonable, sustainable, and, in some cases, simply impossible due to their size.”

The process is much more efficient because the robots work simultaneously, and can perform different tasks. Despite their small size, they can work on buildings of any scale, as long as they have the right materials. 

"They are extremely easy to transport to the site. All these features make them incredibly efficient and reduce environmental footprint of construction," Novikov and Jokic said. 

This new building process would also be much greener, as the robots would ensure the construction site does not produce any waste. The technology also ensures that no custom molds or support structures are required. 

The researchers say they envision a future construction site in which robots also do the painting, piping, and other tasks required in the building process. 

See how the robot builders would work in the video below.