Queen Maxima of the Netherlands enlisted the help of a small robot to open a 12m (40ft) 3D-printed steel bridge across a canal in Amsterdam's red-light district earlier this week.
The structure's opening – the description of which sounds like the a game of Consequences based on a drunken Daily Mail columnist's fever dream – took place when the Queen pressed a green button to turn on a robot arm, which cut the ribbon with a pair of scissors.
It appears that all concerned (except the robot) then decamped to a bar to have a drink, as shown in the video below. When in Rome and all that.
The bridge is a temporary structure intended to remain in place for two years, while the bridge that previously spanned the canal on that spot is being renovated.
As part of an Imperial College London experiment, the 6-ton bridge has been fitted with sensors so that engineering boffins can monitor how the structure reacts to everyday use.
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“If you want to have a really highly decorated bridge or really aesthetic bridge, suddenly it becomes a good option to print it,” Tim Geurtjens of bridge-fabricator MX3D told the Associated Press. Although he obviously would say that.
“Because it’s not just about making things cheaper and more efficient for us, it’s about giving architects and designers a new tool – a new very cool tool – in which they can rethink the design of their architecture and their designs,” he added.
Micha Mos, an Amsterdam councillor, had loftier hopes, beyond simply showing off with a huge bit of Giger-esque 3D printing.
“This may attract a new kind of visitor, one who is more interested in architecture and design, which will help change the way the neighborhood is perceived as more of something you want to visit, but visit respectfully than it has been over the few last decades,” he told AP.
Yeah, good luck with that. ®