Okay, you know the rule. You can only cut once. Not twice, not thrice. But once. And when you have powertools, your mistakes are magnified. Curse be to the Human Condition, your hands shake, you’re eyes are dim and maybe you barely have the strength to handle your powertools. It is a reality, but a reality we can augment and resolve. Enter, The Augmented Reality Router.

Developed by a team of CompSci and MechE Grads at MIT, these ‘Position-Correcting Tools for 2D Digital Fabrication’ use a camera, a screen, a few stepper motors, a frame and QR codes. Wait? QR Codes? Well what this baby does is it locks on the pattern you’ve uploaded in reference the QR codes you’ve stuck onto the wood/plastic/metal you’re cutting. As you follow your line, the router is adjusted to cut exactly where it should. You just have to keep your eye on the target, keep the line within the router’s limits and Bob’s your Uncle.

The best part about this device is that you can cut very large pieces very easily – the only limit is your body, your bit and your piece. And better yet, it’s hyper-accurate.

We empirically tested the fidelity of shape reproduction by plotting a complex pattern with a pen mounted as the tool, scanning the result, and measuring deviation from the digital plan (Figure 10). The shape was plotted 6” wide. We fitted a curve to the scanned plot, aligned the plan to that curve, and measured deviation from evenly-sampled points along the drawn shape curve to the nearest point on the plan. The average error was 0.009”, with a maximum error of 0.023”. The error was small enough that the aligned design always fell within the width of the pen stroke.

Damn! This looks like a CNC-lover’s dream. WANT.

YouTube video

Source: MIT and Alec Rivers (Click to see the best profile ‘pic’ I’ve ever seen)