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10 Futuristic Construction technologies | Future constructions | Explore engineering

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over the centuries engineers and
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architects have devised ever new ways to
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build taller stronger and more beautiful
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creations using game-changing materials
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like steel girders earthquake proof
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foundations and glass curtain walls but
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what does the future hold for
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construction technology will there come
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a day when noisy construction crews are
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replaced by swarms of autonomous
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nanobots will the cracks in concrete
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foundations one day miraculously heal
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themselves or gas stations be replaced
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by electric cars running on
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self-charging roads keep watching for
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our full list of ten of the most
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exciting construction innovations of the
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near future
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self-healing concrete
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concrete is the single most widely used
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construction material in the world in
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fact it is the second most consumed
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substance on earth after water think of
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all the concrete homes office buildings
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churches and bridges built each year
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concrete is cheap and widely adaptable
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but it’s also susceptible to cracking
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and deterioration on their stresses like
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extreme heat and cold in the past the
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only way to fix cracked concrete was to
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patch it reinforce it or knock it down
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and start from scratch but not anymore
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in 2010 a graduate student and chemical
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engineering professor at the University
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of Rhode Island created a new type of
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smart concrete that heals its own cracks
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the concrete mix is embedded with tiny
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capsules of sodium silicate when the
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crack forms the capsules rupture and
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release a gel like healing agent that
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hardens to fill the void this is not the
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only method of self-healing concrete
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other researchers have used bacteria or
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embedded glass capillaries or polymer
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microcapsules to achieve similar results
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however the Rhode Island researchers
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believe their method is the most
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cost-effective prolonging the life of
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concrete could have huge environmental
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benefits worldwide concrete production
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currently accounts for 5 percent of
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global carbon dioxide emissions smart
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concrete would not only make our
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structures safer but also cut back on
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greenhouse gases
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carbon nanotubes a nanami tur is one
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billion for the meter
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that’s impossibly small a single sheet
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of paper is 100,000 nanometers your
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fingernail grows approximately one
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nanometer every second even a strand of
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your DNA is 2.5 nanometers wide to
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construct materials at the nano scale
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would seem impossible but using
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cutting-edge techniques like electron
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beam lithography scientists and
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engineers have successfully created
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tubes of carbon with walls that are only
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one nanometer thick when a larger
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particle is divided into increasingly
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smaller parts the proportion of its
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surface area to its mass increases these
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carbon nanotubes have the highest
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strength-to-weight ratio of any material
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on earth and can be stretched two
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million times longer than their
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thickness carbon nanotubes are so light
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and strong that they can be embedded
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into other building materials like
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metals concrete wood and glass to add
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density and tensile strength engineers
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are even experimenting with nanoscale
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sensors that can monitor stresses inside
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building materials and identify
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potential fractures or cracks before
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they occur transparent aluminum for
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decades chemical engineers have dreamed
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of a material that combines the strength
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and durability of metal with the crystal
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clear purity of glass such a clear metal
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could be used to construct towering
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glass walled skyscrapers that require
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less internal support secure military
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buildings could install fin transparent
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metal windows impervious to the highest
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caliber artillery fire and think of the
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monstrous aquarium you can build with
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this stuff back in the 1980s scientists
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began experimenting with a novel type of
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ceramic made from a powdery mix of
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aluminum oxygen and nitrogen a ceramic
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is any hard usually crystalline material
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that’s made by a process of heating and
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cooling in this case the aluminum powder
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is placed under immense pressure heated
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for days at 2,000 degrees Celsius and
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finally polished to produce a perfectly
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clear glass like material with the
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strength of aluminum known as
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transparent aluminum or long the
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space-age material is already being used
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the military for making armored windows
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and optical lenses permeable concrete
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during a heavy storm sheets of rainwater
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pour down on roadways sidewalks and
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parking lots scouring of surface debris
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and pollutants and washing potentially
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toxic chemicals like gasoline directly
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into sewers and streams the US
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Environmental Protection Agency
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identifies stormwater runoff and paved
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urban areas as a major source of water
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pollution nature has its own way of
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filtering out toxins from rain water
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soil is a magnificent filter for metals
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in other and organic materials as
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rainwater passes down through soil
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levels microorganisms and plant roots
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absorb excess chemicals
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knowing this engineers have created a
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new type of permeable concrete that
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allows rainwater to pass right through
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pavement and let nature do its work
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permeable or pervious concrete is made
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with larger grains of rock and sand
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leaving between 15 and 35 percent of
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open space in the pavement slabs of
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permeable concrete are laid atop gravel
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or another porous base material that
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lets rainwater settle to the soil
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substrate beneath permeable concrete is
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an excellent replacement for asphalt in
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parking lots not only does it
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significantly decrease runoff but also
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the lighter color of concrete reflects
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sunlight and stays cooler in the summer
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aerogel insulation if Michelangelo’s
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famous marble Statue of David was made
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of aerogel it would weigh only two
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kilograms aerogel is one of the least
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dense substances on earth a foam like
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solid material that holds its shape
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despite being almost as light as air
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some types have densities just three
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times heavier than air but typically air
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joules are 15 times heavier than their
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you might think of gel as a wet
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substance such as hair gel but hair gel
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is made by removing the liquid from a
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gel all that’s left is the silica
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structure which is 90 to 99 percent air
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aerogel is almost weightless but can be
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spun out into thin sheets of aerogel
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fabric in construction projects aerogel
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fabric demonstrates super insulating
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properties its porous structure makes it
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difficult for heat to pass through in
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tests aerogel fabric had two to four
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times the insulating power of
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traditional fiberglass or foam
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insulation once the price comes down it
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could be widely used in construction
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temperature reactive tiles if you are
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alive in 1991 and lived above-ground
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odds are good that you owned a
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hypercolor t-shirt by some scientific
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miracle a miracle called thermochromic
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died
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the folks at hypercolor made t-shirts
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that change color with your body
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temperature the commercials made it look
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super cool but in reality the hottest
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parts of your body are usually your
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armpits glowing armpits are not super
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cool right today a company called moving
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color manufacturers glass decorative
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tiles coated with thermochromic paint
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that come alive with changing surface
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temperatures at room temperature the
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tiles are a glossy black but when you
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touch the tiles or hit them with direct
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light or warm water the colors transform
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like the Northern Lights into iridescent
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blues pinks and greens the coolest
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application has to be the color shifting
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shower the good news for moving color is
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that houses don’t have armpits robots
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warm construction one of nature’s most
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ingenious builders is the humble termite
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with a brain the size of a grain of sand
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it works alongside hundreds of thousands
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of mountain mates to build colossal and
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complex mud structures termites captured
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the attention of Harvard robotics
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researchers because the insects don’t
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take orders from some central termite
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architect each termit works alone
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according to genetically programmed
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rules of behavior together as a swarm of
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single minded individuals they create
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monumental works of mud inspired by
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termites
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researchers at Harvard self-organizing
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systems Research Group have built small
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construction robotics program to work
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together as it’s warm the four wheeled
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robots can build brick like walls by
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lifting each brick climbing the wall and
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laying the brick in an open spot they
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have sensors to detect the presence of
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other robots and rules for getting out
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of each other’s way like termites no one
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is controlling them but they are
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programmed to collectively build a
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specific design
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imagine the applications swarming robots
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building levee walls along a dangerously
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flooded coastline thousands of tiny
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robots constructing a space station on
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Mars for deep underwater gas pipelines
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being assembled by swimming swarms of
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BOTS a similar experiment used a swarm
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of autonomous flying robots to build an
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artfully undulating brick tower 3d
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printed houses 3d printing has finally
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gone mainstream MakerBot is selling
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nifty and just about affordable desktop
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machines that can print out fully
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rendered 3d plastic toys jewelry machine
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parts and artificial limbs but what if
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you want to print something bigger than
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a shoebox could you actually build a 3d
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printer large enough to print out a
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plastic house the answer is yes the
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Dutch architecture firm has launched an
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ambitious public art project to build a
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3d printed house but first they had to
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build one of the world’s largest 3d
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printers called the camera maker or a
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room maker using the same plastic source
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material as small-scale 3d printers the
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camera maker can print out large Lego
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like plastic components that will be
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assembled into individual rooms of the
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house the rooms will then lock together
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again think Lego with the printed
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exteriors of the home designs to look
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like a traditional Dutch canal house
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meanwhile a Chinese construction company
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is building houses using a giant 3d
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printer that sprays layers of cement and
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construction waste to assemble the homes
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the company says the houses will cost
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less than $5,000 each and it can produce
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up to 10 of them in a day
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smart roads Google is hogging all of the
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limelight with its self-driving car but
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what good are smart cars if they still
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have to drive on dumb roads one of the
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most exciting new ideas is a roadway
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that acts as a charger for electric
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vehicles a New Zealand company has
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already built a large power pad that can
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wirelessly charge a parked electric car
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the next step is to embed the wireless
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charging technology into actual Road
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surfacing so electric vehicles can
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recharge on the move no more refueling
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stations other intriguing ideas that may
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come true one day include road surfaces
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that absorb sunlight to generate
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electricity or even cooler embedding the
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road with piezoelectric crystals that
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capture the vibrations of passing cars
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and convert them into usable energy
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building with co2 carbon dioxide spewed
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from power plants and automobiles is the
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single largest source of manmade
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greenhouse gas every year we pump more
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than 30 billion metric tons of co2 into
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the atmosphere where it speeds the
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damaging effects of global warming while
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the energy sector experiments with
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trapping or sequestering co2 emissions
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underground a team of researchers at
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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has successfully used genetically
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modified yeast to convert co2 gas into
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solid carbon-based building materials
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like the Harvard termite team the MIT
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researchers were also inspired by Nature
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this time the abalone like other
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crustaceans abalone can convert ocean
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born co2 and minerals into calcium
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carbonate to build their rock-hard
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shells the researchers isolated the
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enzyme that abalone used to mineralize
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the co2 and engineered a batch of yeast
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to produce it a beaker full of
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genetically modified yeast can produce
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one kilogram of solid carbonate from
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only 0.5 kilograms of co2 imagine how
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many carbon bricks they could make with
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30 billion metric tons of co2
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you

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