5-speed listening (Furniture - Level 5)

Robots to help us make our own furniture






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Robots are taking over more parts of our lives and jobs. The latest job to feel threatened by technology is carpentry. For thousands of years, skilled carpenters have created furniture from wood. However, the next generation of master carpenters may be robots, not humans. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created a robot that can create custom-made furniture. The robots will not replace humans, but will improve safety. The goal of the project is to let robots do the more dangerous task of sawing so carpenters can focus on design.

The MIT team used today's technology to create the "AutoSaw". It differs from robots that are currently used to make the mass-produced, flat-pack furniture we buy from home-furnishing stores. People will design their own furniture and AutoSaw will cut up the wood with great precision. It will also reduce the risk of us losing a finger. Researchers said: "Our aim is to democratize furniture-customization...to open up a realm of opportunities so users aren't bound to what they've bought at Ikea. Instead, they can make what best fits their needs." This will mean better-designed furniture.

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