SAM on the jobsite: Robot lays bricks quickly — as long as there are no corners

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The Sun newspaper in London, England recently published a profile about SAM, The Semi-Autonomous Mason,‘s arrival in the British market from its northern New York home.

The robot can do most of the work of a traditional mason, except, significantly, corners. So if there is a long straight wall to lay, it will do the work at a rate as much as four times as fast as conventional bricklayers.

Construction Robotics, based in Victor, southeast of Rochester, created the device, with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The machine includes a conveyor-belt, mortar pump and robotic arm. A labourer helps feed the bricks into the machine, machine are picked up by the robotic arm, covered with mortar, and placed on the wall. Lasers help the robot arm adjust to changing conditions such as scaffold movements.

A skilled mason is still needed to oversee the machine, and a human worker needs to smooth over excess mortar.

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