Jun 29, 2018 | By Thomas
NOWlab, the innovation department of large-format 3D printer manufacturer BigRep, has created a ‘smart concrete wall’ with an adaptive surface enabled by embedded capacitive sensors. This touch-activated smart concrete wall was completed using a bigrep ONE 3D printer at Immensa Technology Labs in dubai. According to NOWlab’s design team, through the utilization 3D printing, the techniques in concrete casting that were used by skilled craftsman in the past can once again return to current building sites.
Hexagonal light fixtures fill the adaptive hexagonal grid, the form of the Smart Concrete Wall was derived from ancient arabic tiling logics. Its adaptive surface can be activated by the touch of a hand. This triggers an embedded sensor that was made possible through the combination of different 3D printed elements within the structure.
Immensa Technology Labs is the first UAE Company to file for 3D printing patent. According to engineers at Immensa, the NOWlab wall is made by a concrete casting process. Initially, they created molds using the BigRep ONE, a large format 3D printer that would enable printing models in one piece. The BigRep ONE 3D printer features a build volume of X 1005 mm x Y 1005 mm x Z 1005 mm, making it an ideal device for concrete construction. Using parametric design tools and large-scale 3D printing, engineers were able to create a hybrid concrete wall that gradually merges from a closed to open condition. Afterwards LED lights were added to the concrete framework and attached to the capacity sensors. These lights are activated by a hand’s touch on its outer surface.
Detail view of the 3D printed formwork elements that where used to cast the wall
According to NOWlab, this functionalization of a concrete surface is a first of its kind. NOWlab believes that 3D printing can help architects during construction administration, enabling them to realize their ideas very quickly in the early stages and change ideas into real models.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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