High above the field at the recent Super Bowl, a tiny robot was hanging in tension. Fixed on wires and capable of skyrocketing and nosediving in three dimensions, the robot is also a video camera called SkyCam, now a staple in sports broadcasting. A new iteration of this technology wants to become the staple of another industry, but instead of hauling a camera and capturing football kickoffs, this version will carry and stack bricks.
Developed by an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, CU-Brick is a cable-driven robot capable of building precise and intricate structures, piece by piece. Demonstration projects show the robot whizzing through the air and cleanly stacking bricks along the base of a wall. Its creators see the technology as a potential game-changing innovation for the construction industry, increasing the speed, accuracy, and safety of construction projects.