You seemingly can't throw a rock in 2017 without hitting some new walk of life where robots are being employed. The latest? A bricklaying robot called SAM100 (Semi-Automated Mason) that is capable of building walls six times faster than a human bricklayer. And probably about 10 times faster than the majority of Digital Trends writers.
Created by New York-based company Construction Robotics, SAM is ready and willing to lay 3,000 bricks per day, using its combination of a conveyor belt, robotic arm, and concrete pump. By comparison, a human builder will average around 500 bricks per day.
"For a lot of different reasons, the construction industry has been slow to adopt innovation and change," construction manager Zachary Podkaminer told Digital Trends. "Compare a construction site today from a picture of one years ago and, with the exception of a few tools, it really hasn't changed all that much. Now it seems the industry is finally evolving and we're trying to be a part of that by bringing technology to construction sites."
Costing around $500,000, SAM isn't cheap, but it's a potentially transformative tool in revolutionizing future building sites. SAM is already working on building sites around the U.S. and recently received an upgrade to SAM OS 2.0. which allows it to lay" soldier course" bricks.
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Is Construction Robotics worried that it's putting human laborers out of business, though?
"We don't see construction sites being fully automated for decades, if not centuries," Podkaminer said. "This is about collaboration between human workers and machines. What SAM does is to pick up the bricks, put mortar on them, and puts it on the wall. It still requires a mason to work alongside it. SAM's just there to do the heavy lifting."
At present, SAM's human partner is required to smooth over the concrete before SAM places more bricks. While some people are going to be concerned that robots like this will largely replace humans on construction sites, if -- as Podkaminer notes -- robots can do the backbreaking heavy lifting and leave people to do other jobs, that could work out best for all involved.
Plus, we presume it doesn't shout mean comments about our skinny arms as we walk past the sites it is working on.