MIT has done it again. The Boston-based research university which is responsible for what seems to be the majority of university-derived innovation in the United States has a new industry in its sights, targeting it for roboti-fication: carpentry.
MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, commonly known as CSAIL, is the birthplace of the AutoSaw, a system which provides robotic assistance in designing, scaling, and building custom furniture. The process entails four stages.
1) Using AutoSaw’s design software, the user settles on the design and size of their, let’s say, dining room table. Human guidance is needed for this step. Using “Computer Numerical Control”, or CNC, the design created by the user is converted into numerical values which the robotic saw can interpret.
2) To find the perfect design, users can then tweak individual aspects of the template to make your table one-of-a-kind. The Computer Aided Design, or CAD, system OnShape is used in making sure that one’s furniture will be just right in terms of size, shape, sturdiness, and aesthetics.
3-4) Let the robot take over from here:
And, voila. The AutoSaw user reaps all the benefits of designing their own custom furniture, without any of the danger posed by the saw itself, a tool which has been responsible for countless injuries over the years.
If you’re building a deck, you have to cut large sections of lumber to length, and that’s often done on site, CSAIL post doctorate Jeffrey Lipton, lead author on an AutoSaw-related paper, told MIT News. Every time you put a hand near a blade, you’re at risk. To avoid that, we’ve largely automated the process using a chop-saw and jigsaw.
One of the primary benefits of the AutoSaw software is its high level of customization. Its creators envision the technology being particularly useful for those whose living, study, or working quarters are untraditional in terms of design and space constraints. Look for the AutoSaw to thoroughly disrupt the way we do our woodwork in the years to come.