By now you know: 3D printing is the way of the future (if not the future and the moment). Everything from ice cream to mending your threads is now possible thanks to those little machines. The idea of building things from nontraditional sources continues to evolve, and some people are considering ways to build things with the help of nature. The former editor-in-chief of Gizmodo, Geoff Manaugh, and his friend John Becker have been working on a project to genetically modify bees to produce more than just honey.

Inspired by the Silk Pavilion built at the MIT Media Lab by silkworms and robots, Geoff and John think that bees “would be able to construct or repair statuary, architectural ornament, building details and more,” with their honey-making glands. Only now they would produce a concrete-like substance.

By placing bees into a mold or framework, “They could be used to repair damaged structures, create sculptures or, if let loose, create gorilla architectural ornament.” The team admits that the project is just an observation of what could be in the future, and there are no plans to modify bees as we know them today. Geoff also tempers the sci-fi nature of a modified bee project by acknowledging, “You could think of it as a world infested with rogue 3D-printers or concrete glue guns gone wild.” Oh. Thanks, but no thanks on that last part.

While the idea is fascinating, we’ll wait on 3D printing bees and gold and pearl cocoons and just stick to our CraftBots for now.

What are your thoughts? Do you like the idea of using bees as builders or do you prefer to leave them to their delicious honey-making skills? Feel free to buzz about your thoughts in the comments below!

(h/t Dezeen Magazine, images via John Becker)