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Bosch’s new finger-sensing table saw uses small explosives to prevent cutting injuries

Back around the year 2000, a woodworker by the name of Steve Gass had a brilliant idea. By applying a small amount of electric voltage to the blade of a table saw and monitoring the current, he built a system that could reliably detect when the saw hit human flesh. When the voltage changed, a braking system would kick in and bring the blade to a complete stop within five milliseconds. The idea was that this would help prevent serious injury in the event of a cutting accident. The only downside? Stopping the blade so abruptly usually causes it to break.

To remedy this problem, Bosch has developed a saw that does basically the same thing, just without breaking the saw. Unlike the now-infamous SawStop, Bosch’s new REAXX table saw can be reset and used again after the emergency braking system has been activated.

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The key lies in Bosch’s innovative replaceable cartridge system. Instead of stopping the blade with an aluminum brake, Bosch uses a small, two-shot explosive charge to blast the blade downward. This quickly pushes it beneath the table and away from the operator without warping, bending, or damaging it in any way. To reset the saw, the user just needs to insert a new cartridge and lift the blade back to its original position.

The REAXX saw will be available this fall for $1,500. No word yet on what replacement cartridges will cost, but they’ll almost certainly be cheaper than an ambulance ride to the ER.