If "smart bricks" become the dominant construction material in 10 years, my boys are going to have a solid future in construction, given their passion for legos. Smart bricks are a prototype construction material made from high strength concrete. They stack and interconnect like legos:
The bricks -- which are patent pending -- are much like Lego in that they come in a variety of forms for different purposes and can easily connect together, with rows of knobs along the top of bricks that slot into voids along the bottom of other bricks. A special adhesive -- which works like a super-strong double-sided sticky tape, a bit like 3M VHB -- dispenses with the need for cement. They can be delivered to building sites in a kit complete with traditional doors and windows allowing for structures to be assembled with a minimum of debris and labour. Steel bars can be slotted through dedicated channels in the bricks to provide the same support as traditionally reinforced concrete.
You can read the whole article here. You can also check out the animation of the construction process below:
I am not sure which is more revolutionary, the construction material or robot doing the constructing. Whether you have a robot doing the constructing or humans, it is not hard to see the benefit of this approach to construction. Time will tell if it catches on . . .
Lest you think this would lead to every building looking like a box, I will show you a few pictures from the "Brick Fiesta" 2014 in San Antonio this past weekend. This is an annual gathering of Texas Lego enthusiasts who show off their custom lego constructions. Here are some highlights:
The Battle of Helm's Deep from The Lord of the Rings (note that the Uruk-Hai at the door has a "special delivery")
This is "city block" complete with a Chili's, The Ghostbusters, and, of course, a Whataburger.
Here is an up-close view of the Whataburger - you cannot see it from the picture, but the interior floor of the Whataburger has black and white check tile.