Flesh-Sensing Technology Prevents Injuries from Table Saws

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David Butler still has all 10 fingers. Unremarkable perhaps, but one must take into account that he has been a machine woodworker for over 60 years. (Some veteran woodworkers can count all of their fingers on one hand.)

According to Consumer Protection Safety Commission data, in 2018 machine injuries caused 103 million lost days of work and $170.8 billion of injury loss. Mr. Butler claims that 10 fingers are amputated each day as a result of table saw accidents in the United States.

Whirlwind Tool Company is based in Mr. Butler’s Massachusetts lab/workshop where he has spent nearly 15 years inventing and patenting flesh-sensing technology that will radically reduce tragic, life-changing injuries from table saws and other machine tools.

The Company’s patented Black Box is a device that controls the electrical power supplied to table saws and many other machine tools. A Naval Electronics Technician working on the Navy’s first fighter jets in the 50’s, and later becoming a pilot, Mr. Butler chose to adopt his “Black Box” machine control and safety station from the commercial airlines that were required to record the flight parameters in systems which are actually bright colored flight recorders.

The Whirlwind Tool Company’s Black Box and corresponding flesh-sensing system recognizes the risk of injury due to the operator’s proximity to the spinning blade and stops the machine in one-eighth of a second. Injury to the user is avoided with no damage to the machine’s motor, which may be immediately restarted. The plug-in bolt-on/removable Black Box works in consort with an “electronic fence” blade enclosure. Mr. Butler proudly pointed out a significant difference between the Black Box system and that of his primary competitor, Saw Stop. The Black Box may be attached to almost any existing power saw, whereas Saw Stop’s system is not mobile and thus must remain attached to one piece of machinery.

The Black Box technology allows adults to train their younger protégés with confidence that injury will be avoided. The removable safety shields may be adjusted based on the user’s experience and comfort level. The flesh-sensing technology requires no electrical modifications to the machinery and also works on metal cutting and fabrication.

In addition to his woodworking and inventing talents, Mr. Butler takes pride drafting his U.S. patents and drawings under the close supervision of an expert patent attorney. In June, 2020 he secured a 5G IoT patent: “allowing control and data logging for monitoring safety without human involvement.” He is interested in selling the patented Black Box and flesh-sensing technology and assisting with the manufacturing process.

The Company’s website has received visitors from interested parties in 120 countries worldwide. Mr. Butler has a file of several hundred written requests for machine tool safety products which will be included in the sale of his patents and the Whirlwind Tool Company.

David Liepman
July 12, 2020

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