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Student Innovates Lightweight, Wearable CNC Machine for Superhuman Precision | Mecha-morphis

FDT Bureau

Product design engineer Jasper Mallinson has designed Mecha-morphis, a wearable CNC (computer numerical control) machine aiming to bridge the gap between human craftsmanship and robotic construction. Mallinson, a graduate of the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London’s Innovation Design Engineering master’s course, envisions Mecha-morphis as a lightweight and portable CNC machine that integrates with human control. Know more about it on FURNITURE DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY (FDT).

Describing it as a one-handed exoskeleton for superhuman precision, the Mecha-morphis device features eight motors worn on one arm, controlling a cube-shaped frame with attached tools. Mallinson’s exploration focused on combining digital fabrication technologies with human craftsmanship rather than replacing it. The design, emphasizing flexibility and universality, seeks to offer a broad spectrum of control options, from manual to autonomous, with intermediate stops for stabilization or limited human override.

Mecha-morphis has the potential to accommodate various tools, including routers, drills or plasma cutters. While Mallinson has tested the prototype with a pencil and welding torch, he aims for a full range of control capabilities. The device is connected by cables to a backpack housing the computer and circuitry that drive and monitor the motors. Conversations with computational architects and construction workers revealed practical benefits, particularly in the context of algorithmically designed structures and the challenges of manual construction methods in parametric architecture.

Mallinson sees opportunities for Mecha-morphis to liberate digital fabrication from workshops, enabling it to go wherever humans can go. The ongoing development includes adding position-tracking functionality to achieve the desired superhuman precision for tasks such as drilling circuit boards and welding superstructures.

Image credit: Sandy Steele-Perkins




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