Worldwide, about 100 million people are homeless. Another 863 million people are living in slums and other substandard conditions. That’s nearly a billion people living with unacceptably inadequate housing.
The rapid development of 3-D printing technology is already starting to play a role in lowering these numbers.
Earlier this year, the Chinese company WinSun showed off their new 3-D printer by printing 10 complete homes in just 24 hours:
Unfortunately, 3-D printers like the one above are bulky and costly to transport, and materials like concrete are often hard to come by in impoverished areas.
But an Italian 3-D printing company may have just solved both of these problems. The World’s Advanced Saving Project (WASP) has designed an easily-transportable 3-D printer that uses mud and natural fibers (like wool) to create homes for people living in impoverished areas.
Mud and natural fibers are something you can find almost anywhere, so the WASP printer allows the material for the homes to be locally-sourced, avoiding the costs of shipping in materials like concrete.
Mud and fiber houses are nothing new. In fact, they’ve been around for more than 9,000 years. However, WASP’s new method incorporates modern architectural elements to create homes that are stronger than traditional mud houses while also using less material.
WASP showcased a scaled down version of their 3-D printer at Maker Faire Rome, an international event that showcases innovative technology:
WASP claims that their architectural designs were inspired by none other than the potter wasp. This species of wasp uses a combination of hair and mud to build pottery-like nests for their young.
The full-size WASP printer is capable of printing houses up to 10 feet tall. WASP has yet to make any official plans as to where they will officially launch their endeavor, but they are reportedly considering the island of Sardinia.
While this island doesn’t have a huge need for the housing program, its proximity to the company’s home base in Italy will allow WASP to work out any kinks that remain with their printer.
Read the original story from IFL Science.