Watch this team of drones 3D print a tower

To demonstrate the drones’ capabilities, the researchers had them use foam and a special lightweight form of cement to build structures with heights ranging from 0.18 meters to 2.05 meters. It was built within 5 millimeters of the original scheme.

Then, to demonstrate that the system could operate on more complex formations, the team used lights on drones to create a time sequence of light as they simulated to make a tall, dome-like structure. Their work is described in a paper in the language temper nature today.

Mirko Kovac, director of the Laboratory for Aerial Robotics at Imperial College London, who led the research, says the method could be used to construct buildings in the Arctic or even on Mars, or simply to help repair tall buildings that usually require expensive scaffolding.

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