Robot Bricklayer

It doesn’t need a tea break and will not wolf-whistle at women walking by – meet Robo-Hod the hi-tech robot brickie. Researchers in Switzerland have invented a robot bricklayer which they predict will be commonplace on building sites within 10 years. The In-situ Fabricator is a giant mechanical arm on a mobile base and can even be programmed to lay bricks in complex designs. It can also move around a building site using laser-guided range-finders to navigate. The In-Situ Fabricator can build the walls of a typical house in two days – or 20 times faster than a traditional brickie. Lay down: The In-situ Fabricator in action YouTube

Speedy: The In-situ Fabricator is 20 times faster than a human brickie According to Matthias Kohler, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, in Zurich, the In-Situ model is “the first machine that can actually go on construction sites and build non-standard designs, meaning designs which can vary and adapt to the local conditions directly in the building site”. In-Situ’s 2D laser range-finder, together with computer algorithms, help to build up a 3D map of a building site linked to structural plans. The map allows the robot to know its location at all times and – uniquely in the growing field of construction robotics – to move around a building site unaided. It can also adapt autonomously to minor design variations. Getty Images

Under threat? A bricklayer at work Professor Kohler said: “The benefit from an architectural point of view is that you can really design the construction directly, so you can plan for how it is built instead of designing your plan and then that plan afterwards being converted on the construction site. So it actually changes the paradigm of how you design and build quite Human brickies might be worried by the idea of a robot doing their job faster and better, but Professor Kohler insisted: “This will be a game-changer in construction. “I think that in the next five to 10 years, we are going to see mobile robots on the construction site, but they are not going to replace humans. They will actually collaborate with humans, so the best of each kind of skills come together.” ITV

Bricking it: Classic TV show Auf Weidershein Pet followed a team of British bricklayers working abroad Fastbrick Robotics, an Australian company which is developing a similar robot brickie, also believes that the technology could attract young people into construction rather than simply replacing them. “It will reduce the overall construction time of a standard home by approximately six weeks”, said Mike Pivac, chief executive of Fastbrick Robotics. “The machine will fill the void that exists due to shrinking numbers of available bricklayers.” …