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Watch Out Bricklayers, This Robot Is Coming For Your Job

Meet the machine that will build your future home in just a few days.

Watch Out Bricklayers, This Robot Is Coming For Your Job

Beware bricklayers, this machine is coming for your job.

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Developed in Australia, the Hadrian 105 is a prototype robot that lays bricks as well as humans can, according to the company behind it. And yet, it does so much more cheaply. Mike Pavic, CEO of Fastbrick Robotics, says it can complete the brickwork for a four bedroom house in just two days. Normally, it would take up to 42 days, he says.

The Hadrian has a series of sensors so it knows its position on the foundation slab and can correct itself if it goes off-course. Working from a design file, it then lays bricks and squirts cement to fill in the gaps. “Because it builds from the ground-up the same way a 3-D printer does, anything you can conceive with a CAD model can be built with the machine,” Pavic says in an interview from Perth, in Western Australia. “You can have a round house, an S-shaped house, curved walls. As long as we can [design] it from the ground upwards, we can do it.”

So far, Fastbrick has yet to build a full house. The best it’s managed is a mini-structure within its workshop. But the company is in the process of of being acquired by a real estate group, and Pavic hopes to complete a commercial machine and start building properly next year.

He claims that Hadrian won’t be a job-killer, at least in Western Australia where there’s a shortage of human brickies. “We have a low number of bricklayers operating in Australia. If brick manufacturers and builders are going to continue using bricks, they have to contemplate using new ways of laying bricks, and automation is the clear favorite for that,” he says.

As Pavic sees it, at least one trained bricklayer will be needed on-site to ensure proper placement of lintels and brick ties. And bricklayers may be able to work longer, because there won’t be so much heavy lifting (or really any lifting at all). “We hope to extend the careers of bricklayers not put them out of work,” he says.

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Also the machine, which has a 90-foot arm, could clear construction sites of scaffolding, mixers and other equipment, making it safer for humans to work there, he adds.

Frankly it’s a little hard to believe that Hadrian will be a job-enhancer for the majority of construction laborers, though it may allow companies to build quality homes more quickly and more cheaply, which has its own social benefits.

About the author

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.

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