Tools With Intelligence

A new wave of do-it-yourself gadgets brings the benefits of the computer age to those who are handy around the house

Consider the screwdriver. Simple. Utilitarian. And hopelessly out of date. Few people who have put together a cabinet with a cordless screw turner will ever happily go back to driving Phillips-heads by hand. The most advanced power screwdrivers even come with built-in computer systems that sense when a screw is running into resistance and turn up the torque accordingly.

Having infiltrated every nook, cranny and copy machine in the modern office, the electronics revolution is starting to work its magic in the workshop. Tools that date back to the Iron Age can now take advantage of two decades of technological advances,...

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