Could roving 3D printers repair the planet's damaged environment?

On the Move

The Break the Grid initiative has a plan for repairing the environment: give 3D printers the ability to autonomously navigate the world around them.

To that end, the three Danish companies behind the initiative — GXN Innovation, The Danish AM Hub, and Map Architects — teamed up to imagine what mobile 3D printers might look like, transforming the devices into bizarre-looking robots that can crawl, swim, and even fly.

Image Credit: Break the Grid

Land, Sea, Sky

The group designed each of its three robots to serve a specific purpose.

The six-legged crawling 3D printer would skitter across roads, filling cracks in asphalt, while the swimming 3D printer would mix glue with sand from the ocean floor to build coast-protecting artificial reefs. The flying 3D printer, meanwhile, would add thermal insulation to older high-rises.

Image Credit: Break the Grid

Future Vision

While these are currently just designs, GXN Founder Kasper Jensen believes there's an argument to be made for sending 3D printers out into the world.

"Freeing 3D printers to meet these challenges could be a revolution in the making," Jensen said in a press release. "By enabling robots to crawl, swim, and fly, we can address pressing environmental threats around the world at lower cost and with greater efficiency."

Image Credit: Break the Grid

READ MORE: Danish designers propose using roaming 3D-printing robots to repair environments [Dezeen]

More on 3D printing: Here’s What Life Will Be Like With 3D Printers That Can Create Anything

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