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This startup has a 3D printer that can literally print houses for $4,000
As The Verge reported, the startup ICON has built an inexpensive 3D printer that can literally print out a small house in only 12 to 24 hours. - photo by Herb Scribner
A startup out of Austin, Texas, may have a solution that could fix one of the worlds biggest problems with the help of a 3D printer.

As The Verge reported, startup ICON has built an inexpensive 3D printer that can print out the components of a small house in only 12 to 24 hours.

These homes measure about 650 square feet.

The homes cost about $10,000 to build, but the company plans to sell them for $4,000. ICON plans to use the technology to build a 100-home community in El Salvador next year.

The company has partnered with New Story, a nonprofit that seeks to help fix the issue of homelessness across the world. New Story has already built homes in Haiti, El Salvador and Bolivia, according to Fast Company.

If New Story succeeds, the first people to live in a 3-D printed town won't be the technologists or the futurists of Silicon Valley. They'll be people in the world's poorest regions, who most need a roof over their heads, Wired reported.

Right now, about 1.2 billion people in cities around the world lack affordable and secure housing, according to a new report from the World Resources Institute Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, which equals about 330 million households.

The report said the housing gap will likely increase by 30 percent to 1.6 billion people by the year 2025.

Cities are the engines of economic growth, and policymakers need help prioritizing solutions, Ani Dasgupta, global director of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, said in a statement. Supporting affordable housing is one of the best ways to help fast-growing cities in the global south run smoother and provide benefits to all residents."

Jason Ballard, who is one of the three founders at ICON and also runs a sustainable home upgrade service called Treehouse, will use one of these homes as an office to see how well they work before the company implements them into communities.

The model home, which was unveiled at a South by Southwest conference and festival in Austin, Texas, on Monday, included a living room, bedroom and curved porch.

Ballard told The Verge that both ICON and New Story hope to use these homes when human civilization leaves Earth.

One of the big challenges is how are we going to create habitats in space, Ballard said. Youre not going to open a two by four and open screws. Its one of the more promising potential habitat technologies.
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