Caterpillar Inc. announced today that it is working with Bechtel, Brick and Mortar Ventures and Bradley University to sponsor NASA’s latest Centennial Challenge the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge. The competition is created to incent America’s most talented to come up with innovative ways to design and print a habitat that could be used for deep space exploration, including the agency’s journey to Mars, as well as have applications on Earth today.
For more than 90 years, Caterpillar has been building the world’s infrastructure, and we plan to develop the world’s infrastructure for the next 90 years whether that’s in a great city, a developing village or even beyond our planet.
“As technology evolves, so do our machines. The future of construction will look very different than it does today,” said Justin Speichinger, advanced engineering manager for the Caterpillar Excavation Division. “By expanding our horizons and engaging in progressive opportunities like the Centennial Challenge, we are better equipped to develop disruptive technologies to solve our customers’ current challenges as well as prepare for our mutual long-term success.”
“There’s no better way to solve big problems and come up with the next breakthrough than by working together with our customers, such as Bechtel, a true innovator in construction; a forward-thinking, sector-specific venture capital firm such as Brick & Mortar Ventures; our hometown University, Bradley, that is focused on innovation; and of course, NASA,” said Eric Reiners, Caterpillar research program manager. “Caterpillar and NASA have collaborated for years, and we are proud to work with NASA on this next great challenge.”
The competition is designed in three phases. The first phase, the design competition, was completed in September 2015. The second phase, which just opened, is the structural competition, which focuses on the technologies needed to manufacture structural components from readily available and recyclable materials. The third phase will be the actual building of habitats.
“Innovation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics drove the last 100 years and it will supercharge the next 100,” said Bechtel Deputy Chief Innovation Officer David Wilson. “That applies to space exploration missions as well as the projects we build on Earth. We’re honored to partner with NASA, Bradley, Caterpillar and Brick and Mortar Ventures in this competition, as we look forward to seeing the 3D printing community discover new solutions for all applications.”
The competition will be open to teams from universities, corporations and ordinary citizens anyone with an idea and the motivation to bring that idea to life. NASA will be offering $1.1 million in prize money in phase two of the competition.
“We are looking forward to seeing some creative solutions,” said Darren Bechtel, Founder and Managing Director of Brick & Mortar Ventures. “Brick & Mortar Ventures believes that solution scarcity has contributed to the historic lack of productivity improvement in construction. By collaborating with NASA, Caterpillar and Bechtel, the Brick & Mortar team hopes to support the commercialization of technology developed for construction on the next frontier.”
The public will have the chance to follow the competition through social media, and to attend the head-to-head competitions live. In fall 2017, teams will test their structural components and compete for the phase two award at the Caterpillar Edwards Demonstration Center. The entire competition will culminate with the third phase the On-Site Habitat Competition also held at Caterpillar’s Edwards Demonstration Center in fall 2018. Teams will come together and demonstrate their ability to fabricate full-scale habitats in front of judges and the public.
“This is an exciting opportunity to bring the best ideas in technology to our students and the community,” said Bradley University President Gary Roberts. “The challenge provides an unparalleled opportunity for students and faculty to network, create relationships with mentors and explore new ideas as they partner in creating solutions for our world and beyond.”
For more information about the competition, visit nasa.gov/3DPHab
To register, and for the official rules and documents, visit bradley.edu/challenge
For 91 years, Caterpillar, Inc. (caterpillar.com) has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. With 2015 sales and revenues of $47.011 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three product segments - Construction Industries, Resource Industries and Energy & Transportation - and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment.
Bechtel (bechtel.com) is one of the most respected global engineering, construction, and project management companies. Together with our customers, we deliver landmark projects that foster long-term progress and economic growth. Since 1898, we’ve completed more than 25,000 extraordinary projects across 160 countries on all seven continents. We operate through four global businesses: Infrastructure; Nuclear, Security & Environmental; Oil, Gas & Chemicals; and Mining & Metals. Our company and our culture are built on more than a century of leadership and a relentless adherence to our values, the core of which are safety, quality, ethics, and integrity. These values are what we believe, what we expect, what we deliver, and what we live.
About Brick and Mortar Ventures
Brick & Mortar Ventures (brickmortar.vc) is a San Francisco-based seed and early stage venture capital fund focused exclusively on disruptive technologies for the verticals of Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Facilities Operations. Founded in 2015 by Darren Bechtel, Brick & Mortar Ventures has quickly established itself as one of the premier venture firms enabling innovation and cost savings across the global AEC market.
About Bradley University
Bradley University is a top-ranked, prestigious, private university in Peoria, Illinois, offering 5,400 undergraduate and graduate students the opportunities, choices and resources of a larger university and the personal attention and exceptional learning experience of a smaller university. Bradley offers a comprehensive array of undergraduate and graduate academic programs in business, communications, education, engineering, fine arts, health sciences, liberal arts and sciences, and technology. The University is located on an 85-acre campus in the largest metropolitan area in central Illinois.