3D-Printing Spider Bots Could Build a City on the Moon
Ashley Allen / 3 years ago
German engineering company Siemans has developed a team of spider-like robots with on-board 3D printers capable of working together in extreme conditions to contruct buildings and structures, and the engineers behind the project are training these Siemans Spiders – or SiSpis – to be able to build a colony on the moon.
“Imagine a robot like this, instead of being that small and working with plastic, imagine that, like, five, ten times bigger, maybe, and being able to manufacture with concrete,” Livio Dalloro, head of the Product Design, Modeling and Simulation Research group for Siemans, told Bloomberg.
While the idea of a mechanical spider might sound intimidating to some, in reality the SiSpis look more like Pixar’s WALL-E than arachnids.
“I got feedback like: Oh. Killer spiders,” Seimens engineer Sinan Bank said. “Then I start to think, how can I make it a little bit softer, a little bit gentle, make it a little bit funny, maybe? Then I added components like eyeglasses and put the laser scanner like a hat.”
The SiSpis, which are connected via a hive mind and can delegate tasks with great efficiency, even factoring in rotations to compensate for battery charging, are far from being practically implemented – “We wanted to create a little proof of concept,” Dalloro said – either on the Lunar surface or on Earth, but the on-going research should help humanity to branch out into hostile environments like never before.
“We see this project as one of the first attempts in mobile manufacturing that will enable us to fabricate objects in places that we simply could not have built within before,” Dalloro told Business Insider.
“Without the advancement in the optical manufacturing space, Newton wouldn’t have manufactured the polished parabolic-mirrors to validate or advance his scientific ideas in astrophysics,” Dalloro added.