3D printers that fly like bugs are an effective new tool.
In recent years, 3D printing and additive manufacturing have made significant waves in industries ranging from construction to the manufacture of jewelry and automobiles.
Who would have believed that a technology like 3D printing could be used in conjunction with two other cutting-edge technologies, drones and AI, to create something
truly amazing? In a report published in the journal "Nature," a team of academics from The University of Bath, lead by Imperial College London, describe a very intriguing
new building tool: autonomous drones that function like insects to repair and possibly even create complete structures.
The manufacturing process was known by the researchers as aerial additive manufacturing, or Aerial-AM.
The drones utilize a print head that is positioned vertically above the workspace to apply a stream of quickly setting material in layers to a surface, operating on the
same concept as extrusion 3D printers.The print head moves to produce the desired form as the extrusion occurs. To create the final product, layers are added as required.
We have seen enormous machines deposit concrete to print little habitats; in the case of this new invention,
the researchers built their own test materials described as cement-like, yet light enough for a drone to carry about.