AI News, Custom carpentry with help from robots

Custom carpentry with help from robots

Every year thousands of carpenters injure their hands and fingers doing dangerous tasks such as sawing.

In an effort to minimize injury and let carpenters focus on design and other bigger-picture tasks, a team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has created AutoSaw, a system that lets nonexperts customize different items that can then be constructed with the help of robots.

“If you’re building a deck, you have to cut large sections of lumber to length, and that’s often done on site,” says CSAIL postdoc Jeffrey Lipton, who was a lead author on a related paper about the system.

To avoid that, we’ve largely automated the process using a chop-saw and jigsaw.” The system also offers flexibility for designing furniture to fit space-constrained houses and apartments.

  “Robots have already enabled mass production, but with artificial intelligence (AI) they have the potential to enable mass customization and personalization in almost everything we produce,” says CSAIL director and co-author Daniela Rus.

To cut lumber the team used motion-tracking software and small mobile robots — an approach that takes up less space and is more cost-effective than large robotic arms.

“This meant we could rely on the accuracy of the power tools instead of the rigid-bodied robots.” After the robots finish with cutting, the user then assembles the new piece of furniture using step-by-step directions from the system.

Custom carpentry with help from robots

Every year thousands of carpenters injure their hands and fingers doing dangerous tasks such as sawing.

In an effort to minimize injury and let carpenters focus on design and other bigger-picture tasks, a team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has created AutoSaw, a system that lets nonexperts customize different items that can then be constructed with the help of robots.

“If you’re building a deck, you have to cut large sections of lumber to length, and that’s often done on site,” says CSAIL postdoc Jeffrey Lipton, who was a lead author on a related paper about the system.

To avoid that, we’ve largely automated the process using a chop-saw and jigsaw.” The system also offers flexibility for designing furniture to fit space-constrained houses and apartments.

  “Robots have already enabled mass production, but with artificial intelligence (AI) they have the potential to enable mass customization and personalization in almost everything we produce,” says CSAIL director and co-author Daniela Rus.

To cut lumber the team used motion-tracking software and small mobile robots — an approach that takes up less space and is more cost-effective than large robotic arms.

“This meant we could rely on the accuracy of the power tools instead of the rigid-bodied robots.” After the robots finish with cutting, the user then assembles the new piece of furniture using step-by-step directions from the system.

Robots armed with saws make custom flat-pack furniture

Lipton and his colleagues at MIT have created a system where users can customise their own designs for anything from a table to a shed.

Two lifting robots pick up a piece of wood, bring it over to a chop saw, and hold it in place while the saw cuts it to size.

If you want squiggly edges instead of straight ones, jigsaw robots attached to a customised Roomba vacuum cleaner will take care of it.

Right now, the drill holes for the designs have to be completed by hand, but Lipton and his team are working on an automated drill press and other robotic power tools.

AutoSaw: Robot carpenter makes custom furniture

Researchers have repurposed existing robotic technology so it is able to create custom wooden furniture, a move they say will greatly improve safety.

Robotics have long been used to manufacture mass-produced, flat-pack furniture but MIT's work could pave the way for robots to create custom furniture for specific purposes and spaces.

Easy access But hardware specifics aside, the real goal of MIT's work is to demonstrate that high-quality, customisable furniture is more accessible than before - and safer to produce.

'Robots have already enabled mass production, but with artificial intelligence they have the potential to enable mass customisation and personalisation in almost everything we produce,” said Daniela Rus, quoted in an article written by MIT's in-house publication.

Roomba with a saw: Robot system does dangerous carpentry

You can make adjustments to the look, change the size, or make it shorter or taller.  The system sends the finished design to a crew of robots, which includes two agile Kuka youBot robo-arms on wheels and a delightfully modified Roomba that wields a jigsaw.  This modified Roomba robot vacuum now holds a jigsaw.

They hope to add drilling and gluing capabilities to further reduce the need for people to get involved.  Perhaps someday we'll all turn to AutoSaw to create a perfect side table for a living room or cut all the lumber for a new deck while keeping our precious fingers far, far away from power tools.

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