Losing a finger to a table saw sounds like a living nightmare, but it happens nearly all the time.
So inventor and amateur woodworker Steve Gass came up with a safety mechanism that can distinguish flesh from wood, stopping the saw blade within one-hundreth of a second when it senses that a finger may be in harms way.
Gass’ system, called the SawStop, can be installed into table saws or other woodworking equipment. It works by sending an electrical current through the blade into the material that is being sliced.
Dry wood does not conduct electricity, but the human body does. Once the machine detects a conductive surface, the blade immediately stops (You can deactivate the system to cut conductive materials, like aluminium).
The one drawback is that the safety system, when deployed, completely destroys the machine. Still, there’s no price tag you can place on holding onto all of your digits.
Gass is so confident in his system that he was even willing to stick his own finger into the saw to prove that it works. The daring experiment starts around the 3:50 mark in the video below:
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