USC Viterbi Professor wins Grand Prize in Create the Future Contest


Congratulations to Berokh Khoshnevis for winning the Grand Prize of $20,000 in the 2014 Create the Future Design Contest. Presented by NASA Tech Briefs magazine, this prestigious annual design event highlights over 1,000 product design ideas from engineers, entrepreneurs, and students worldwide. Berokh is a professor at USC Viterbi School of Engineering seeking to change the way structures are created with a process called Contour Crafting (CC).

With Contour Crafting technology, entire buildings could potentially be 3D printed in the future. Just like how many at-home 3D printers create objects using the specifications of CAD files, Contour Crafting is capable of putting down systems like plumbing or electrical conduits for buildings–one layer at a time. Berokh imagines that one day architectural designers could sell standard plans and future home owners could customize designs to develop their dream home.

The Contour Crafting technology has the following unique features:¹

  • Reduces construction cost to about 30% of current cost
  • Speeds up the construction process by a factor of at least 50
  • Reduces construction injuries and fatalities (400,000 and 6,000 per year, respectively, in the US and more severe in developing countries)
  • Provides emergency shelter to the more than 37 million annual victims of war and natural disaster
  • Provides dignified housing to the low income population of the world
  • Contour Crafting eliminates construction wastes as the computer precisely adds material where it is needed.
  • Dramatically reduces construction energy usage (by 90%) and CO2 emission (by 70%)
  • Promises limitless architectural features such as curved walls
  • CC is ideal for Lunar and Martian construction using in-situ resources.

If you’d like to learn more about Contour Crafting, watch this TED talk Berokh Khoshevis gave on the process in 2012. Berokh Khoshevis on Contour Crafting: TED Talk