It’s been hard to automate construction and home improvement. While there is plenty of room for robots on the worksite, I doubt any of us have seen anything quite like the Printstones Baubot, a construction bot that can carry heavy loads, lay bricks, and even sand sheetrock, feats once only performed by folks in hardhats and steel-toed boots.
The Vienna, Austria-based company builds two types of robots, a small one on treads with a 40-inch arm and a heavier device with an 82-inch arm. You can swap out arm tips in order to sand, cut, drill, or even lift heavy blocks into place using a suction mechanism. Both robots can carry over a ton of material.
Although the robot is still in pre-production, it already seems to be doing plenty to make your local sheetrock guy nervous. The company also offers the SRS100-400, a 3D printer for construction housed inside a standard shipping container and it seems that they did most of their work in concrete extrusion before expanding into welding, drilling, and sanding. The best thing? It actually works.
“The robot on the video is a pre-production prototype of the Baubot MRS10-100 system,” said Victor Rodionov, a business development lead at the company. “It definitely can do all of these things. The application movements were pre-programmed this time, but all of them were completed with real tools on a real construction site.”
Again, these slow-moving, potentially delicate machines won’t replace your Uncle Lou who likes to do his own deck work. That said, they could replace workers in adverse environments and speed up construction considerably, especially for repetitive tasks like bricklaying and hardware installation. Also, your Uncle Lou probably won’t be able to afford one.
“The price highly depends on the application and amount of engineering, starting from €150K per unit,” said Rodionov. Each unit is made to order so it usually takes six months until delivery. I, for one, welcome our robotic construction overlords.