Contour Crafting, a computerized construction method that rapidly 3D prints large-scale structures directly from architectural CAD models, has been awarded the grand prize of $20,000 in the 2014 “Create the Future” Design Contest.
Contour Crafting automates the construction of whole structures and radically reduces the time and cost of construction. The large-scale 3D printing technology could lead to affordable building of high quality, low-income housing; the rapid construction of emergency shelters; and on-demand housing in response to disasters. NASA is looking at the technology for building moon and Mars bases.
Behrokh Khoshnevis, a professor at University of Southern California, who invented Contour Crafting, views this invention as a proven concept. “Bringing 3D printing to construction is bringing a concept to a proven application. For many years, building has been done in layers—concrete foundation blocks, brick laying, structural framing, etc.”
Contour Crafting was among the 1,074 new product ideas submitted in the 12th annual design contest, which was established in 2002 to recognize and reward engineering innovations that benefit humanity, the environment and the economy. This year’s design contest was co-sponsored by COMSOL and Mouser Electronics. Analog Devices and Intel were supporting sponsors.
In addition to the grand prize of $20,000, first-place winners (of Hewlett-Packard workstations) were named in seven categories.