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Artificial intelligence

A simple robo-carpenter can make you some flat-pack furniture

February 28, 2018

An MIT project called AutoSaw uses basic bots to measure and cut parts ready for human assembly.

How it works: A user picks an item from a set of templates—say, a chair or table—and tweaks the design. The plans are then given over to a set of robots, which create the component parts.

What it does: A pair of Kuka robot arms measure wood and offer it up to a circular saw for cutting. A modified Roomba acts as a jigsaw to cut out complex parts.

The human part: Meatbots are still required to lay out objects for the machines and to construct the object—though the software shows you how to assemble the parts, which might be easier than following IKEA instructions. 

Why it matters: While it still requires human oversight, it hints at how cheap(ish) robots could automate even small concerns, like local workshops.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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