The world’s first 3D-printed home is set to begin hosting tenants beginning in June, in the city of Nantes, France, according to Reuters. The house was built as part of a project headed by researchers at the University of Nantes, who say it represents the first house built in situ by a robotic 3D-printer, that is intended to actually provide housing.
In total, the 3D-printed portion of the construction, by a robot called BatiPrint3D, took a total of 18 days. It used a special polymer intended to help the building stay insulated for a full century. The robot printed hollow walls that were then filled with concrete for insulation during a separate part of the process.
The project, called Yhnova, also included sensors to keep track of air quality, temperature, and humidity.
According to Benoit Furet, a professor who was part of the project:
“Is this the future? It’s a solution and a constructive principle that is interesting because we create the house directly on site and in addition thanks to the robot, we are able to create walls with complex shapes.”
Local authorities say they are planning to facilitate more 3D-printed building projects in Nantes, such as an entire district of 3D-printed homes including a 350 square meter public reception building. Scientists say that 3D-printed construction could help to cut down on energy costs for tenants.
The house is 95 square meters (1000 square feet), with five rooms. According to local authorities, it will provide housing to a local family that has qualified for social housing.
While the Y-shaped house is not the first ever 3D-printed building, those working on the project say it is the first that will be inhabited long-term, and could pave the way towards cheaper and more quickly built homes in general.
3D-printing technology has taken off in impressive ways in recent years. Several weeks earlier, Polymaker, a Shanghai-based company, unveiled its LSEV electric car, a 3D-printed vehicle that can travel at speeds up to 43 miles per hour. It is the world’s first 3D-printed car.
3D-printing technology is also expected to revolutionize the healthcare industry, even cutting its notoriously high costs in the US, with applications in producing everything from prosthetics to skin for burn victims and pharmaceuticals, and even yielding new techniques for tissue engineering for organ transplants.