The Redfin Scholarship is a way for Redfin to help students on their journey through higher education. The scholarship application period occurs twice yearly with awards given to a student in both the spring and fall. Here is the student essay that won the 2018 spring scholarship. Congrats Neha Nagabothu!
Essay Prompt: Technology and big data are disrupting nearly every facet of our lives. Amazon disrupted the retail industry, Uber disrupted the taxi industry, and Redfin has disrupted real estate. What industry do you think will be disrupted next, and why?
Have you ever played Sims, designing your house with simple taps and drags? Can you imagine designing your real home and seeing your new creation within a day, 3D-printed just for you? The construction industry is about to make it happen.
The construction industry is often thought of as slow and ancient. From 1945 to today, industries like retail, agriculture, and manufacturing have leapt in productivity, growing by 1500%. However, the construction industry has remained flat in growth, unwilling to embrace innovative technologies – but the landscape is changing. The potential is almost limitless – every step of the process can be transformed, from the initial inspection to collaboration between workers to finally build the homes.
In the next ten years, we will be able to use technologies to 3D-print buildings in a single day. Initial inspections of homes, typically including dozens of time-consuming, rigorous, and dangerous routines, can cause huge delays in building even a single piece of foundation. Drone technologies expedite this process: covering vast areas rapidly, capturing detailed images, and autonomously perform these inspections utilizing artificial intelligence. With the massive amounts of relevant data these drones collect, workers can run simulations to test designs and hypotheses before even building the home, ensuring more safety and quality in the final product.
The next step in the process is creating parts and putting the home together. 3D-printing offers a variety of colors, designs, and unfathomable possibilities; today, it is difficult to create complex, layered, artistic structures by hand. With 3D-printing, architects can easily tap and draw to create intricate curvatures, symmetric patterns, and add vivid details without the worry of tedious, painstaking labor to achieve the masterpiece in their mind. Here, there is even the possibility of businessmen or home owners designing structures to their own preferences with a user-friendly interface, and seeing it come to life in a few days.
Now, it is time to build. Normally, such a convoluted task at such a massive scale would take years – but 3D-printing makes the process dramatically more efficient. Autonomous, unmanned robots can construct beams, place bricks, paint entire condos, install skyscraper windows, and more, all in the fraction of time it would take a manual, human laborer. Even more intriguing, there are technologies being developed to allow these robots to communicate – think of it as uber-powerful Roombas working together to build your home.
It’s like Amazon or Wix for a house or even a skyscraper. Tap, tap, draw, design, and submit – a two-year old could design a house, a neighborhood, a downtown, a new college dormitory, or even a new colony on Mars – but there’s no guarantee that it will be aesthetically pleasing! Users worldwide can design homes and place their designs online for others to utilize, and suddenly, there is HUGE space for innovation within the industry. Suddenly, anyone can have their dream home, building, or city – all thanks to the power of artificial intelligence and robotics to disrupt the entire construction industry.
Nagabothu is a senior at Westview High School in Portland, Oregon. She has been recognized internationally for her work in robotics and business and hopes to complete a double major in technology and business in college. In her free time, she loves to dance, listen to music, cook, read, listen to TED talks, learn new languages, and make puns.
The next scholarship application period is from May 1 – July 31. Click here for more information.