For a long time now, we have heard that a 3D printer is capable of miracles: it can be used to print toys, spare parts for equipment, decorative items, and even medical prostheses. However, there is still yet more to come!
By 2024, China is planning to complete the construction of a new dam on the Tibetan plateau without using human labor. Instead, construction will be performed exclusively by machines. The 3D printing system will be controlled by artificial intelligence. The printed power plant will generate up to five billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, completely supplying Henan province. To bring this project to life, they built a special machine on the Yellow River; the machine reaches 180 meters in height, and the project participants call it "the world's largest 3D printer."
What exactly is this 3D printing system? It includes a construction planning device and an assembly line. The first provides the exact slicing of the digital model into layers to calculate materials and route planning for each phase of the construction process. Simultaneously, construction robots gather the necessary materials and transport them with the assistance of AI, which is responsible for stacking. Every robot will also be equipped with a sensor that measures the strength of the built structure. As soon as one of the stages of construction is completed, the robots will pass all the information about the results to the planning system. This process will be repeated until the dam is fully built.
It is not the first time China has used the potential of 3D printing: they created the world's largest pavilion printed on a 3D printer, the first nine-meter-long retractable bridge that was installed in one of Shanghai's parks. However, both of those projects involved humans in some way. In comparison, AI will entirely take over the construction of the dam. Undoubtedly, this will be a breakthrough in the field of 3D printing!
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