Robots could build the world’s first ‘prefab’ stairs

A robotic vacuum stairs system could be built in minutes by combining existing materials and robotics, creating a much cheaper, faster and more effective solution to the problem of stairs. 

The team behind the project, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), is using the 3D printing of a new, highly precise robotic vacuum step system. 

This new method, which combines the traditional robotic vacuum, with the high-precision printing of the new robotic vacuum system, has been created in collaboration with a team from the University of Texas at Austin (UTSA). 

The new robotic system uses the same basic components as the old robotic system, but adds a number of new technologies.

The team has been working on the system since 2015 and has created a prototype in collaboration at EPFL. 

“The 3D printer has been a crucial part of our process of developing the system and it has proved to be very useful,” said Dr Sjoerd Nolte, a postdoc in EPFL’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering (BIEM). 

“With the help of the 3d printer, we are now able to produce an improved, more compact version of the system that can be easily and quickly built.”

The team said they were now ready to test the prototype in real-world conditions, using real-life construction projects to demonstrate the system’s capabilities.

“This system can be built to a height of 2 metres, but the team is working on developing a shorter and shorter version,” Dr Noltes said. 

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