A Wasp-Inspired Robot Can Build a Whole House

Shaunacy Ferro

The affordable housing of the future will probably be spit out of a 3D printer. Last year, a Chinese company reportedly used a one of the gadgets to build 10 single-story homes in 24 hours. And now WASP, a 3D printing company based in Italy, has created the world’s biggest 3D printer in the hopes of using it to build rapid, affordable housing in the developing world and in disaster zones.

BigDelta, which debuted in late September, is almost 40 feet tall, and is designed to build houses like a wasp builds its nest, layering building material from the ground up—except instead of chewed-up wood and mud, the printer’s robotic arm spits out layers of dirt, hay, rocks, and water, creating triangular bricks that form a circular, one-room home shaped like a dome.

See more of the process in this video, which just so happens to unfold like an action movie trailer:

BigDelta can build a house in a week using its three robotic arms. The goal is to churn out houses that only cost a few thousand dollars in order to shelter the world’s ballooning populations and those displaced by war and natural disasters.

[h/t: Smithsonian]