Perhaps you've used those programs that let you design your dream house, creating a Computer Aided Design (CAD) file. Not quite ready to take up the hammer and start building? What if you could just "print" your house?
Behrokh Khoshnevis (USC Engineering) has been perfecting his contour crafting device, which squirts semi-liquid construction materials to form walls and domed ceilings. His ultimate objective?
"The goal is to be able to completely construct a one-story, 2000-square foot home on site, in one day and without using human hands."
Dr. Khoshnevis' techniques will receive their first real world test in Los Angeles sometime in April of this year. The first prototype will be a watertight shell of a two-story house built in 24 hours - without a single construction worker on the job site (see small-scale demonstration video).
Citing a 200-1 speed increase over traditional house-building methods, Dr. Khoshnevis particularly recommends his methods for use after natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina:
Contour Crafting is the only layered fabrication technology which is suitable for large scale fabrication. CC is also capable of using a variety of materials with large aggregates and additives such as reinforcement fibre. Due to its speed and its ability to use in-situ materials, Contour Crafting has the potential for immediate application in low income housing and emergency shelter construction.
See Contour Crafting: 3D House Printer for additional details on how the technique actually works.
(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction.)