There are countless people across the globe without adequate housing and despite all of the efforts being made by governments and non-profits, there's still a long way to go before housing can be secured for those in dire need of it. ICON, a startup based in Austin, demonstrated a low-priced 3D-printed home that's being presented as a potential solution to this global problem.
3D-printing offers several advantages over traditional building methods, ICON co-founder Jason Ballard said in a statement: "With 3D-printing, you not only have a continuous thermal envelope, high thermal mass, and near zero-waste, but you also have speed, a much broader design palette, next-level resiliency, and the possibility of a quantum leap in affordability". To build the house, ICON developed a mobile 3D printer called the Vulcan, which is created to operate in conditions where power isn't reliable and potable water isn't readily available - like rural El Salvador or Haiti.
Affordable housing will prove critical to sheltering people around the world.
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ICON has partnered with a nonprofit housing foundation New Story to take its technology to the developing world.
Together, ICON and New Story are 3D printing homes using a cement mixture. And now the price to build a home is coming down. ICON has unveiled the Vulcan 3D printer at SXSW Festival, a manufacturing solution that could eventually provide homeless or struggling families with a roof over their heads. Best of all, the homes would cost just $10,000.
ICON would also like to develop robots in the future that could automatically install the windows, as well drones that could spray-paint the exterior walls. However, the technology for suspending concrete as it prints is not feasible yet. However, ICON thinks that its structure is the first printed house that's been considered habitable by a local government. The company hopes to bring its housing to move countries in the future. In homes, at the moment small 3D printers can be used to create toys for children. It is hoped that in terms of housing, the cheap construction could start a trend for affordable housing.
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