This ice-printing robot is the future of pothole repair

Hate those awful potholes that appear each winter? A robotics and 3D printing start-up called Addibot, based in New York, is trying to help repair them with a new robot that uses water to 3D print ice.

The Addibot with its inventor Robert Flitsch. (Image Credit: YouTube)
The Addibot with its inventor Robert Flitsch. (Image Credit: YouTube)

The company’s robot comes equipped with a vision system that allows it to drive over an ice surface and 3D print the ice into the cuts that are on it in order to create a smooth surface. The Addibot is completely mobile and portable and works by cooling water to just above its freezing point. It is then ejected onto the cold surface and freezes upon contact.

In an interview with Popular Science, Robert Flitsch, inventor of the Addibot, said “One of the main limitations with 3D printers is you typically have it printing inside this box, and you can really only print objects of the size of the work space you’re printing in. If you take additive manufacturing implements and make them mobile, you can print objects of arbitrary size.”

The company is currently developing the robots which will use a variety of materials to repair other surfaces like roads and sidewalks in an attempt to solve the horrid pothole problem drivers encounter.


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