A new construction worker has been lending high-efficiency help to job sites, laying bricks at almost three times the speed of a human worker. SAM (short for Semi-Automated Mason) is a robotic bricklayer that handles the repetitive tasks of basic brick laying, MIT Technology Review reports. While SAM handles picking up bricks, applying mortar and placing them at designated locations, its human partner handles worksite setup, laying bricks in specific areas (e.g. corners) and improving the aesthetic quality of the masonry.
Despite its role in completing repetitive tasks, SAM can adapt to real jobsite conditions, including differentiating between theoretical drawings and the conditions of the actual building site. It is also capable of minor detailing, such as emblazoning a logo by following a pixel map of the image, and adding texture to the wall face by bumping bricks by half an inch.
“In construction, your design will say that a window is located exactly 30 feet from the corner of a building, and in reality when you get to the building, nothing is ever where it says it’s supposed to be,” said Scott Peters, cofounder of the company that designed SAM - Construction Robotics, in an interview with MIT Technology Review. “Masons know how to adapt to that, so we had to design a robot that knows how to do that, too.”
A human mason can lay between 300 to 500 bricks a day - SAM can lay 800 to 1200. Even so, Peters says that SAM’s purpose is to improve overall efficiency, not replace humans – there will always be jobs that a robot can’t do. One human working with one SAM equals roughly four or more masons on a single job.
The first three units of SAM went up for sale in the Fall of 2015. Read more about SAM here.
News via TechnologyReview.