2016-style woodworking with Origin

August 29, 2016 | 09:00
2016-style woodworking with Origin
2016-style woodworking with Origin
Of all electronics engineers I know, an estimated 99.9% are lousy woodworkers. And ready to admit it, myself included. Good news: the Origin can change that. The tool is claimed by its makers, Shaper, to take the mystery out of cutting complex shapes from a piece of wood. Grab Origin by the handles, place it on a piece of wood, and start tracing along the edges of the shape on the touchscreen. That’s right, this is 2016, and robotics, ergonomics and even augmented reality (AR) have entered the realms of woodworking, so far associated with granddad and his folklore hobby. Origin’s drill bit will automatically correct for your wobbly, inexperienced hands.

When you place Origin on a surface, it takes a picture of its surroundings. Removable strips of tape covered in domino-like markings help it get its start coordinates. As you move the tool, it refers to the picture and tape to keep track of its location. Deviate from the intended course and Origin automatically stops cutting — thanks to computer vision.

Origin is said to ship next year for around $1,500 and should bring fairly complex woodworking within reach for casual carpenters, including electronics fans wishing to endow their unsightly (but brilliantly working!) prototypes with a unique casing that looks good in the living room. Say, Elektor’s Nixie Clock in a rosewood casing?

Irrespective of AR and touchscreen operation, the Origin is sure to produce a lot of sawdust.

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