Buildings Inspired by Wasps

Yes, you read that correctly. An Italian company, World’s Advanced Saving Project, or WASP, has developed a 3D printer that mimics… well… wasps. With an ever-exploding population rate, housing is one of the big concerns humankind will face. UN predicts almost 100,000 new homes are required to be built daily to keep up with the population growth rate. 3D Printed houses will come to the rescue.

WASP has developed a 40-foot-tall giant called the Big Delta. It is supported by a metal framework that is 20 feet in diameter, with a rotating nozzle doubling up as a mixer for the printing materials. It needs only tens of watts of power to work. What’s even more amazing is the company’s idea of the material it plans to use – mud or clay that can be structurally reinforced with small amounts of chemical additives, hay or rocks, an idea that is part of its green initiative. It promises to keep costs low.

The design is also an interesting element. The idea was inspired by the method used by actual potter wasps, which make single-chambered, urn-shaped nests using layered tubes of mud. Experiments were conducted in Barcelona, and later in Italy where its capability to build a house big enough to live in was demonstrated. In fact, the town of Iglesias in the island of Sardinia, Italy, has shown interest in making houses using the Big Delta.

But the good news is not just for solving the housing crisis at our home Earth. The full potential of this 3D printer includes the ability of using it on other planets, by making structures without having to transport too much bulk raw material – since it uses mud and rocks, that can be found even on the Moon or Mars – and does most of the work automatically, requiring only two people to handle its assembly and use. Yes, the idea that a machine will automatically build buildings for us on Mars is perhaps not going to remain just a figment of our imagination for too long.

Country of Origin: Italy

Year: 2015


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