The Age of Robots is arriving one brick at a time. In what is an absolutely perfect example of how robots will help and augment human behavior, a robot lays bricks, essentially doing the grunt work, while a mason does the detail and the work that is (for now) too tricky for the robot.
In this human-robot team, the robot is responsible for the more rote tasks: picking up bricks, applying mortar, and placing them in their designated location. A human handles the more nuanced activities, like setting up the worksite, laying bricks in tricky areas, such as corners, and handling aesthetic details, like cleaning up excess mortar.
But the kicker is the efficiency:
a human mason can lay about 300 to 500 bricks a day, while SAM can lay about 800 to 1,200 bricks a day. One human plus one SAM equals the productivity of having four or more masons on the job.
There’s quite a bit of cool technology at:
The robot is able to do all of this using a set of algorithms, a handful of sensors that measure incline angles, velocity, and orientation, and a laser. The laser is rigged up between two poles at the extreme left and right sides of the robot’s work space, and moves up and down the wall as work progresses to act as an anchor point for the robot.
Even though the price is high at ~$500,000, large commercial jobs will be the perfect place for this machine.
The revolution is coming slowly, but it is coming, with the best summary of the future being, by Marc Andreessen:
The spread of computers and the Internet will put jobs in two categories. People who tell computers what to do, and people who are told by computers what to do.
(h/t: O’Reilly Radar)