This summer has seen the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean devastated by one of the worst hurricane season in living memory, leaving countless homeless and without access to basic services. Meanwhile Syrian cities have been left in ruins from years of civil war that has displaced millions. One of the greatest obstacles facing relief workers is the loss of infrastructure, limiting the ability to move equipment and resources to where they’re needed most. What if instead, relief workers could rebuild without having to move one bag of concrete or gallon of water?
In our effort to better understand the problem of building in resource scarce environments, we’ve reached out disaster relief and construction units within the armed services. They have shown us just how depressingly similar the problem is, whether it be in a bombed out city on the other side of the world, or a community devastated by a hurricane in America’s own backyard. Water becomes a precious resource, transportation becomes impossible, and temporary refugee camps become permanent features for decades to come. These conditions breed instability, which is why the US military has committed itself to finding solutions that makes rebuilding faster and less costly. To this end RedWorks has begun to explore how our technology could help relief workers rebuild faster and get communities up and running during recovery. With our indigenous material 3D printers, relief workers could repair roads, housing, and hospitals all with the dirt beneath their feet, returning essential services to areas devastated by natural and human catastrophe. Our printers would shrink the tools to rebuild to a package small enough to be moved by one truck, and be powered in the field. Moreover our process would radically cut the consumption of clean water for construction, saving it for those who need it most.
Historically, when disasters strike, be they natural or man-made, it can take years if not decades for the affected areas to recover. With on-site construction 3D Printing, tent cities and refugee camps would be replaced by rapidly deployable permanent housing, with roads reopened in a matter of days, not months. This would accelerate the delivery of food, water, and power to the victims of disasters, be they natural or man-made. We are far from the only ones looking to address this problem, and if we commit ourselves to address this problem, some day areas impacted by catastrophic hurricanes, earthquakes and war will be able to rise from the ashes and give impacted communities a chance to return to some form of normalcy.