By Kate Brown
Researchers at the Massachusetts’ Institute of Technology (MIT) said “every year thousands of carpenters injure their hands and fingers doing dangerous tasks such as sawing”. In response to this, a team at MIT modified existing robotic technology (including the popular vacuuming robot ‘Roomba’) so that it is able to create furniture. With the aim for robot carpenters to take over more dangerous tasks, it is said to allow human carpenters to focus more on important tasks such as design and to also improve safety significantly.
Although for a long time robots have been used to manufacture furniture, these robot carpenters could allow non-experts to personally customize their desired items. The robots would be able to construct the item by cutting the wood, adding holes needed to assemble it, and carry the components across the room. Assembly would still be carried out by humans as it is with typical flat-pack furniture.
Overall, the goal of MIT’s work is to demonstrate the high quality of customisable furniture which is more accessible and safer than ever before. A member of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Ms Schulz, said “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”.