| by Flemming Funch|
According to New Scientist, a Southern California engineer, Behrokh Khoshnevis, has been working on a robot that can "print" houses. There are devices that are quite a bit like inkjet printers, but which output 3D models in plastic by building them from the bottom up, layer by layer, by spraying out little globs of plastic. This would be the same kind of idea, but it would be a bigger machine, and it might use a kind of concrete. They haven't actually worked out the perfect material yet, and he's collaborating with a company in Germany to find it. However, ironically, it seems that adobe, a traditional mix of mud and straw, could be quite suitable for this process. Wouldn't that be something.
The process is called "Contour Crafting". Other, more detailed, articles are here and here.