These companies have banded together to 3D print houses for people in need

Imagine what the world would look like if 75-square-metre houses could be produced with minimal labour, in under 24 hours, for just over $5000.

Housing markets would be shaken up, downsizing would become an even more affordable lifestyle, and most importantly, homelessness would become a manageable and solvable issue.

It seems like an ambitious and almost unachievable goal, but thanks to two companies who are collaborating on the project, this reality may be closer than we think.

Icon, a revolutionary design and construction company, unveiled its collaborative project with New Story, a nonprofit that invests in international housing solutions, at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) interactive film festival.

How exactly do these companies plan on making this dream a reality?

Well as you would have guessed from the headline, through a creative and innovative application of 3D printing.

Using an advanced 3D printer known as “The Vulcan”, Icon prints the homes using a special type of concrete which they developed alongside New Story.

The mortar contains no exotic materials, had to be thick enough to support the structure of the homes, but thin enough to run through the printer.

It also needed to set at exactly the right speed to preserve the building’s structure.

The printer can produce a variety of designs so that the homes are tailor-made to deal with humidity, temperature, weather conditions and family size.

In addition to the film and announcement, Icon and New Story brought the first fully functional 3D-printed model to Austin, Texas, showing off just how effective they can be.

The model demonstrates Icon‘s ability to produce affordable, livable homes, with no waste and minimal water, power and labour.

Their presence at SXSW not only gave the companies valuable exposure to the supportive public and potential investors, they also won this year’s SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event.

The goal is a while away, but it certainly looks achievable.

The ambitious startup, Icon, has its eyes set even further down the line, with the company hoping to produce robots to install doors and windows, and nimble drones to spray paint their tiny houses.