Natural disasters like Earthquakes, Volcanic Eruptions, Floods and others have become more frequent off late. In 2012 alone there were more than 905 natural disasters worldwide, which left millions of people homeless. While governments all over the world are finding ways to save human lives in case of such natural disasters there are many private companies, educational organizations and universities which are not far behind. Researchers at the University of Nantes (IRCCyN) in France are one such bunch of people that are trying to solve the issue of providing shelter to people in case of such disasters.
In the quest for finding an economical and readily available housing solution the researchers of the University of Nantes turned towards 3d printing. They in co operation with a French company called Capacites, made a 3D printer capable of creating emergency shelters within an extremely short period of time. To make this printer they used a robotic arm which was fitted with printing mechanism to it. The 3D Printer which they named INNOprint 3D can extrude polyurethane filament which can make emergency home that is insulated, sealed and safe to live in. The printer can print a full house in around 30 minutes; the printer does not need to make a support structure while printing even the hanging sections of the house (roof).
INNOprint 3D printer is a project led by Professor Benoit Ferret from the University of Nantes; according to the university website they were inspired to make this printer after a few recent news about natural disasters. While speaking to the press he told ‘You have to imagine that, during a disaster, the robot can be shipped by boat alongside raw material containers and the human relief supplies. There, on demand and according to the desired size, in 20 to 30 minutes, an emergency housing can be realized and used for several months until a more permanent reconstruction.’
INNOprint 3D would be a blessing for people in earthquake hit areas like Nepal and with rapid advancement of the technology we are sure it would be sooner than later that 3d printing would be readily accessible to the affected people. The French university isn’t stopping here, their next project is a more ambitious one, and their laboratories are working towards making a construction printer that prints 7 meters high and an unlimited horizontal plane. They also plan to add a lot more material which is readily available at the construction site.
Humanitatrian outlook of a construction 3D printer is certainly awesome but its economical viability means there are many companies looking at it as an alternative to the conventional construction techniques. We are sure that projects like INNOprint 3D proves that 3d printing technology is not just for making prototypes, its applications are unlimited.