By Don Reisinger
March 12, 2018

Affordable housing will prove critical to sheltering people around the world. And now the price to build a home is coming down.

At SXSW on Sunday, an Austin, Texas-based startup called ICON unveiled its plan to print a 650-square-foot house. According to The Verge, which earlier reported on ICON’s concept, the 3D-printed house would be made of cement and take up to one day to be printed by large 3D robots. Best of all, the homes would cost just $10,000. And ICON hopes that eventually, it can bring the cost of homes down to $4,000.

According to the report, ICON is focused on bringing affordable housing to the estimated 1.2 billion people around the world who do not have adequate shelter. The company will begin its mission in El Salvador, where it plans to build 100 of its houses sometime in 2019. The company hopes to bring its housing to move countries in the future.

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In order to 3D print a building, however, ICON needs to create a schematic. It will then place that schematic into a computer that tells its massive printer how and where to place the cement. According to The Verge, ICON can print homes up to 800 square feet. Its first model has a living room, bedroom, and bathroom. It also features a porch.

Many industry experts say 3D printing is already revolutionizing the way products are created and will only continue to do so in the future. The printers are capable of using any number of materials—including food, cement, and others—and creating a 3D structure.

In homes, small 3D printers can be used to create toys for kids. In the medical space, 3D printers are believed to be a panacea for creating cheaper prosthetics. In housing, the cheap construction could be a boon for affordable housing.

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