June 16, 2013


The future of buildings: coming soon, the house that can repair itself (Mark Miodownik, 6/15/13, The Observer)

The wiring and plumbing of a building will soon start to become integrated and grown like our bodies' nervous and digestive systems. More materials will be able to heal themselves and they'll clean themselves.

Some of these technologies are already being developed - such as self-healing concrete - and at the moment cost is holding back their introduction, but that will change. Obviously there are big economic gains from having buildings that can repair themselves. And practical advantages in hard-to-reach places like nuclear reactors. I would say that in around 50 years we could see buildings that could build themselves. Nature already does it - a tree builds its own wiring and plumbing, its own energy generation system - a marvel of architecture that starts from a single seed.

Also, 3D printing will change how objects are created. Everything will be integrated, objects will be made in one piece, including the wiring and the battery. I'm not sure that every home will have one but sophisticated factory-based 3D printers will be able to tweak product design by responding to consumer comments, creating a speedy feedback loop: 3D printers will change everything about manufacturing; I'm sure about that.

Posted by at June 16, 2013 11:36 AM

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