Our final installment on construction technology is all about sensors…well, not really!
I started writing a new article about sensors, but recalled that I already covered this topic in November of 2018. That article was triggered by a piece written in American City and County where the author talked about how the digital infrastructure was facilitating a data-centric business environment.
Not much has changed since then, so I will link that article for you here.
Interestingly enough, I just spent the weekend digitizing my home with a complete Ring security system. We now have Ring sensors on all doors and windows and next week I will be installing all of the Ring motion sensor lights around the house.
I chose the Ring system because of the integration between the lights and the security devices. I also liked that the system worked with Alexa and Google hubs. Monthly home monitoring is also very low cost compared to other options.
My next home automation project (after the Ring lights) is to add Lutron Caseta lighting controls. I’m also now pricing options for a more efficient HVAC system control.
Instead of going on about sensors, I thought I would use this article to address a series of stories that I found while I was researching the technologies I have written about in this series.
If you recall, my first article stated that I was approached by someone who had combined all of these technologies together. As I was researching stories for the series, I found a series of articles that may explain why my friend (and many others) might believe that we have sensor driven robots building 3D bridges out of concrete.
Let me introduce you to Chris Kelsey. Mr. Kelsey is self-proclaimed as the world’s first trillionaire. Mr. Kelsey makes this claim presumably on the merits of an obscure crypto-currency he developed called Kelsey Coin. Now Chris is not a trillionaire, but he is no joke either. Chris made millions on the sale of an app business before he was 20 years old. He is quite a capable young man. The problem with Chris is that he seems to make claims like “I will become the world’s first trillionaire” with little basis.
The stories that led my friend astray on state of construction technology came from similar grand statements from Mr. Kelsey that were permitted to run unchecked.
Among his many entrepreneurial ventures, Mr. Kelsey started a company called Cazza. Cazza is a now defunct business that made a lot of press with claims that they had a robot called the Cazza X1. The X1 3D Printing robot claimed to be a precision engineered robot that could use 3D Printing technology to autonomously build all kinds of structures.
The claims made by Cazza were so compelling that the government of Dubai invited them to showcase their technology.
Even mainstream news sources like CNN were duped by claims that this kid had figured something out that no one else could.
Today, Cazza is no more. It appears that sometime in 2018 Chris Kelsey and his partner Fernando De Los Rios broke ties amidst a corporate drama that claims De Los Rios ran off with $1M of seed capital.
Unfortunately, the unceremonious retreat of Cazza left behind a series of baseless article and collateral (such as this video) that make Cazza X1 appear to be a real thing.
The only article I found that confirmed my suspicions that Cazza was, at best a failed start-up and at worst a hoax was a small blog called Fabbaloo. The author of Fabbaloo, Kerry Stevenson was following Cazza from it’s inception. Stevenson’s blog is focused on “promot(ing) and grow(ing) the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world“, so it’s no wonder he had Cazza on his RADAR from the start.
Stevenson does a great job of summarizing the rise and fall of Cazza and also explains why the Cazza X1 technology claims are not yet achievable.
Kelsey’s vision is admirable. I do believe that one day someone will find a way to overcome the technological hurdles and build a truly autonomous 3D Printing robot. Unfortunately, that day has not yet arrived.
For me the biggest disappointment about this whole mess is not that Kelsey dared to dream big, nor that he failed in doing so. In fact, I give Kelsey credit for promoting a concept that I hope someone picks up and makes happen. The biggest disappointment to me is that so few took the time to validate his claims and that so much press was given to an idea that was nothing more than fantasy.
Mainstream news sources like CNN never reported that Cazza had closed it’s doors, and the article they did publish makes it sound as if the X1 or “Minitank” (as it is called there) is a real thing. It seems that in their thirst for news, reporters spend no time researching or validating claims. It is this kind of careless reporting that leads to misconceptions like the one my friend had at the start of this series.
Regardless, I am hopeful that we will someday see autonomous 3D Printing robots that can build skyscrapers. For now, I’m quite happy living in a world were 3D Printing, sensor technology, BIM Modelling, and Robots are emerging technologies with huge potential for transforming how we build.
I hope you have enjoyed this series. What new ideas have you learned? Are there new technologies I failed to address. Tell me your stories.
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