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Robots are taking over more and more aspects of our lives, and jobs. The latest occupation to perhaps feel threatened by the march of technology is carpentry. For thousands of years, skilled carpenters have lovingly created furniture from wood. However, the next generation of master craftsmen and women may be robots, not humans. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created a robot that can create custom-made wooden furniture. They say the robots will not replace humans, but instead will improve safety. The researchers said the goal of their project was to let robots do the more dangerous tasks of sawing and assembling, so carpenters can focus on design.
The MIT team used currently available technology to create what they call the AutoSaw. It differs from conventional robots that are currently used to manufacture the mass-produced, flat-pack furniture many of us buy from giant home-furnishing stores. People will be able to design their own furniture and AutoSaw will cut up the wood with great precision and reduced risk of us losing a finger. Researcher Adriana Schulz said: "Our aim is to democratize furniture-customization. We're trying 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." She believes it will empower people to create better-designed furniture.Comprehension questions
- What are robots taking over more aspects of?
- For how many years have carpenters been lovingly making furniture?
- What might the next generation of master carpenters be?
- What will robots improve for carpenters?
- What will robots allow carpenters to focus on?
- What is the name of the robot researchers at MIT created?
- What kind of furniture is in giant home-furnishing stores?
- What parts of our body could the robot saw mean we keep?
- What is a researcher trying to open up?
- What will the robot saw allow people to do create?
Back to the furniture lesson.