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Imagine That! - On the Fast Track to Construction

Imagine That!
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Imagine That! - On the Fast Track to Construction

Credit: NSF/Finger Lakes Productions International

Audio Transcript:

Rome wasn't built in a day, but your next home might be. A new invention could mean fast and furious changes in construction.

Imagine that!

At nearly one trillion dollars, one b-i-i-i-i-i-g sector of the U.S. economy is the construction industry, where new technology may one day drastically speed up production time for residential and commercial building.

In a futuristic scene, this process, called contour crafting, uses an automated nozzle system to form layer upon layer of plaster and concrete, and rapid robotics to shape intricate surfaces.

With this new invention, the two-thousand square foot home of your dreams -- including electrical, plumbing, paint, and wallpaper -- could be completed in a single day; though it's still in development today.

Behrokh Khoshnevis, professor at the University of Southern California and inventor of contour crafting, says the precise automation is eco-friendly, too.

Khoshnevis: "For an average home in the United States, a waste stream of about three to seven tons is generated. Contour crafting, in principal, has zero waste. "

With the potential for efficient low-income housing and fast re-creation of homes destroyed by natural disaster, the future of construction may lie in one "concrete" innovation. I'm Eric Philips.

"Imagine That!" covers projects funded by the U.S. government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research -- brought to you by you! Learn more at

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