How Dusty Robotics is Transforming Construction with Robotics and AI

6 min readSep 25, 2023

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AI and robotics are at the forefront of revolutionizing the construction industry, presenting innovative solutions to long-standing challenges. In this article, we explore Dusty Robotics, from the compelling story of its inception to its visionary mission of reshaping and enhancing the construction landscape.

In our conversation with Tessa Lau, Dusty Robotics CEO and Founder, we delve into the unique features that set Dusty apart and examine how their flagship product, the FieldPrinter, is transforming construction practices. Finally, we’ll learn about some of Dusty’s recent case studies, gain an understanding of Dusty’s business model, and get a glimpse of their exciting future developments.

The Dusty Robotics FieldPrinter System

1- How did the idea for Dusty come about?

The idea for Dusty can be traced back to my personal experience remodeling my home. As the project unfolded, I was amazed by the construction process yet struck by certain inefficiencies in the traditional construction methods. Each day, the crew would gather with handheld power tools and their dog-eared plans on paper, meticulously trying to bring the vision to life. Coming from a robotics background, I live in a future where everything is automated and manual work is done primarily by robots. The home remodel process opened my eyes to the inefficiency and reliance on manual labor in the construction industry. I became convinced that increasing automation could not only enhance the speed and efficiency of construction projects but also dramatically improve their overall quality. Driven by this realization, I set out on a mission to reshape the construction industry through innovation and technology. And thus, Dusty Robotics was born.

Automated layout with the Dusty FieldPrinter

2- Why is the name Dusty?

My co-founder and I came up with the name “Dusty” because we wanted a memorable name that would reflect the reality of the environment our robots would be working within. It’s playful, but also reflects our commitment to making construction technology accessible and approachable.

3- What unique features does Dusty offer in the AEC industry?

Dusty delivers an end-to-end service that accelerates the digitization of the construction industry through hardware and software components that improve the entire construction lifecycle.

FieldPrinter on the job

Dusty Robotics’ flagship product, the FieldPrinter, has become one of the AEC industry’s most innovative and valuable technologies by enabling onsite construction crews to build directly off of a digital model, removing the potential inconsistencies and errors of a traditionally manual process. By automating layout, the FieldPrinter enables teams to build from a single source of truth, resulting in better communication, increased efficiency, lower costs, compressed schedules, and improved safety. Here are just a few of the benefits:

— 100% accuracy. The Dusty Robotics FieldPrinter automates the transfer of the digital model directly to the construction site floor with 1/16" accuracy in a fraction of the time of traditional layout.

— Accelerated schedules. Dusty streamlines project timelines by printing all trades’ layouts on the floor simultaneously. This empowers all stakeholders to proactively identify and resolve any potential conflicts, and significantly fast-tracks the project by enabling trade partners to begin installation immediately and concurrently.

— Enhanced collaboration. By printing layouts for all trades in a single pass, Dusty improves collaboration and communication among all stakeholders. The precise, complete information guarantees that everyone builds off the same data while mitigating conflicts.

— Comprehensive print capabilities. The FieldPrinter prints any combination of points, text, and lines directly from a CAD file. Linework styles can be customized to display layer information such as wall types or plumbing types.

— Reliability and simplicity. Dusty provides an unequaled level of training, service, and support to optimize productivity and reliability. What’s more, the system is designed to be user-friendly, requiring minimal skill for operation.

Simple Operation by Dusty

4- Please tell us about one, two or more recent case studies

We have hundreds of success stories showing how the Dusty Robotics FieldPrinter improves efficiency and reduces risks on construction projects. Here are just a few examples:

Case study 1

Dusty client: Skanska
Project: Sutter Health’s Samaritan Court Ambulatory Care and Surgery Center
Project Description: three-story, 69,000-square-foot medical office building
Scope: Multi-trade layout (mechanical, electrical, plumbing, framing and drywall)
Outcome: “Samaritan Court marks the first instance in which a general contractor collaborated with all trade partners on layout strategy and responsibilities simultaneously, done via the use of Dusty Robotics, delivering the project nearly three months ahead of schedule at a cost savings of approximately $3 million for the client.” — Skanska

Case study 2

Dusty client: California Drywall
Project: Stanford University Data Science and Computation Complex
Project Description: 167,000 square feet. 2 buildings, connected bridge, 4 floors + basement
Outcome: “Dusty makes us better builders. What I like about Dusty is #1 accuracy and #2 schedule. Something that would take five days to do, we’re doing in half the time or less.” –California Drywall

Case study 3

Dusty client: Truebeck Construction
Project: 41,000 Sq Ft mixed use office & lab
Scope: Multitrade layout ( Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing)
Outcome: “with Dusty we’re able to have all trades work together and see if there are issues before installation. When we’re all seeing the same thing it saves lots of time–we’ve laid out the project in a couple of days when it would normally take weeks to complete. It’s a huge difference.” — Truebeck Construction

5- How does Dusty improve efficiency or solve challenges in the construction process?

Although buildings today are modeled in BIM prior to construction, 95% of the information in those BIM models never makes it out into the field because the process for laying out those models is so physically demanding and painful. By utilizing Dusty’s automated layout solution, much more information can be quickly and accurately delivered to field crews — enabling them to build faster, with more certainty, and resulting in less risk to the project schedule and budget.

Framing and Finish Layout by Dusty

6- What is your business model? How do you charge clients?

Dusty sells annual subscriptions, which provide unlimited access to a single FieldPrinter set for use on unlimited projects within the subscription period. Annual subscriptions include the hardware and software licenses, training, support, and upgrades as new features become available. Ink is also included in the price of a subscription.

7- What future developments or updates can we expect from Dusty?

Our clients are continually innovating on how they use our FieldPrinter to deliver more value to their field crews. One example of how our clients have been innovating with Dusty is to print QR codes that give access to more information about the materials being used on the project, or to link to the BIM model to bring up 3D information at a specific location. By leveraging QR codes, we are planning to build out location-aware applications that can present a custom workflow depending on where you are, who you are, and at what point in the construction schedule it is.

Dusty FieldPrinter printing QR code

For further exploration of the most recent advancements in the design and construction industry, please check out our website. Additionally, our dedicated AI-Powered tools page features a comprehensive collection of AEC products equipped with AI capabilities. Is there any innovative tool or technology in the AEC space that you know of? Feel free to sign up and add it to our platform!




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