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The Tiger Stone: A Contraption that "Prints" Roads

This ingenious machine that lays down ready-made brick road really grabbed the internet's attention this morning.


This machine that lays down ready-made brick road—some are calling it a "road printer"—really grabbed the internet's attention this morning (exhibits one, two, and three).

The Tiger Stone works like this: Operators on top of this rig grab bricks from a hopper and feed them into an opening. As the vehicle drives, gravity pulls them down in a perfectly tessellated layer and lays them on a prepared sand surface. Apparently it can lay out 400 meters of road in a day. See it in action in the video below, complete with incongruous bubbly soundtrack.


[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UymdI1zXuI0

It's kind of ingenious. And, as Inhabitat points out, brick roads have some environmental advantages.

Bricks are easy to procure and reuse, cement pavers last a very long time, and they are easy to repair and replace. They tolerate water and freezing without forming cracks, and some newer systems actually absorb rainwater between the pavers and infuse it back into the ground again, reducing storm water runoff and helping improve the effectiveness of aquifers.

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My suggestion: Put some sort of strong, flexible layer under these bricks so that the road can be rolled up and removed as easily as it's set down. That way we could return the suburbs to the wild when we decide we need to downsize.

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