A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, also known as CSAIL, has created a system known as “AutoSaw,” according to an article published by MIT on Feb. 28, 2018.

AutoSaw is a robotic-assisted carpentry system of semi-autonomous robots that measure and cut pieces from wood.

The system was created to help minimize injury by taking the cutting out of the job of the user.

It’s not as straightforward as it sounds though, as the bots do need some human assistance.



The AutoSaw system workflow. (Credit: MIT CSAIL document, “Robot Assisted Carpentry for Mass Customization” (Photo courtesy of the researchers)
Photo courtesy of the researchers

Users pick a design from a set of carpenter-designed templates. (Right now, they have templates for desks, chairs and other furniture items, but according to the press release, the team says that in the future, the AutoSaw may eventually be able to help with larger projects, such as decks or porches.)

Then the user gives the plans to a set of robot arms and lays out pieces of lumber.

From there, two Kuka youBots robot arms measure the wood and bring it to a miter saw. When more complex cuts are required, a modified Roomba (iRobot Create 2 Programmable Robot) acts as a jigsaw.

Once the pieces are cut, the software shows the user how to assemble the pieces.

Stress distribution (top) and elastic deformation (bottom) on different variations of the chair. (Credit: MIT CSAIL document, “Robot Assisted Carpentry for Mass Customization,” courtesy of the researchers)



We think this is pretty cool. But hopefully robot-assisted carpentry wouldn’t eliminate jobs for carpenters.

Maybe the automation could make the work easier and less expensive, by helping to cut pieces of wood, and letting the carpenters focus on design and building.

What do you think?

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