Bee-inspired technology uses aerial drones to 3D-print structures
Building or repairing structures in difficult-to-reach locations is a daunting task, as bringing in the cranes, scaffolding and whatnot can be quite difficult. That’s why scientists are creating a honeybee-inspired system, which uses flying 3D-printing drones to do the job.
Known as Aerial Additive Manufacturing (Aerial-AM), the technology is being developed by researchers from Imperial College London and Switzerland’s Empa institute. It actually incorporates two types of quadcopter drones, which fly autonomously and communicate with one another.
First of all, there are the BuilDrones. Working from a shared digital blueprint, these collaboratively build up the structure by extruding successive layers of material – such as wet concrete – via a nozzle on their underside. That nozzle is able to move laterally relative to the drone, in order to compensate for any unintentional drifting on the part of the latter.
The second type of drones are called ScanDrones. These supervise the…