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Where are the robotic bricklayers?

I've followed your work on Construction Physics, Brian, and I've enjoyed it immensely and learned a ton!

Some thoughts:

  • One of the recurring points you bring up is that construction is limited in cost savings due to the transportation costs - building materials are generally heavy and have low value-to-weight ratios, so centralized manufacturing doesn't help nearly as much as it does in other industries.  That being said, do you see a solution space where the brick-making machine (including kiln if necessary) can itself be brought to the jobsite, with the material being sourced from super-local dirt/clay?  I'm picturing almost a portable manufacturing pipeline, where a digging machine feeds dirt into a mixer, which deposits material into a brick mold which is then fired.  The resulting bricks are assembled via robots.
  • Do you think an alternative to mortar could be found?  Perhaps a solid resin of some sort that is laid between bricks during placement, and then heated into a liquid and cooled back solid to bond with the bricks?
  • Do you think the market for automated bricklaying is going to disappear as 3D printing buildings becomes more common/economical?

Looking forward to your continued work!