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Are Termite-Inspired Robots the Construction Crews of the Future? [VIDEO]

One of our team pointed this article out to me and wondered whether you might like it.  I think that it might expand your thinking about construction in the near future, so here goes.

I admit to being intrigued by 3D printers, robots, drones, driverless cars and trucks, and even nano-scale/molecular scale robots for the delivery of meds that can save lives.  The use of these technologies in construction will make a major impact over the next 5-10 years as labor shortages force their introduction to meet the demand of the projects of tomorrow.

The use of robots in the rebuilding of structures after damage caused by natural disasters like typhoons, earthquakes, hurricanes or tornadoes adds another dimension in which they can make a difference.  One source recently said that if a robot had been available to shut off the appropriate valves at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, we might not be facing the 10- to 100-year cleanup that we are facing today.

One team at Harvard has studied examples in nature: specifically the termite mounds in Namibia, to see whether they might be able use them to create simple robots – called TERMES robots – that could build structures in the lab.  It appears that they have done just that as you can see from the article, and from the 2-minute video below.

As we see the expanding use of BIM and other technologies in our profession, the emerging technologies can and most likely will have a major impact on construction around the globe.  Tell us what you think about the application of such technologies on the construction site of the future, so that we don’t have to say “if only there were a robot to shut off the valves.”

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