Earlier today I stopped by the shop and caught this video of the firebowls for the Boiler being spun. There’s an interesting contrast between this process and my efforts over the summer. When it comes to speed, this is nothing like John Henry vs. the steam drill. The machine has me beat hands-down. Fair enough, but can it enjoy the warmth of sunny summer day? The smell of freshly-baked cookies? The fire of a lover’s kiss? I think not.
Anyway, while I set this up as a robot in the video for dramatic effect, I guess it’s better described as a machine (since it relies on human input to perform tasks), a CNC machine. But as such, it’s operating as a bit of a hybrid. While there are some processes that are completely automated (where software interprets a design and creates paths for the machine to follow), the moves here were programmed in by a human. It kind of reminds me of a player piano, and is what I’m going to go ahead and call a remarkable feat of human/robot collaboration.