In an effort to improve its reputation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it would spend $1.5 million to equip a sewing machine with a digital camera and a microphone.
The $1 million project will be run by the agency’s Sewing Technology Research Center (STRC), a project of the agency that focuses on robotics, manufacturing, and robotics education.
In a press release announcing the funding, the USDA said the machine will be able to record video and capture audio of the worker’s actions, so that the lab can track their movements.
“In order to better understand how workers can be trained to work safely and effectively in a variety of settings, we are working to expand our capability to equip sewing machines with digital cameras, microphones, and other technology to record and capture worker’s behavior and to allow for real-time data analysis,” the USDA stated.
The machine will cost $7K and is expected to be ready for use by 2020.
The USDA also announced that a $500,000 grant was awarded to an unnamed startup to build a $1K robot that can sew using a human’s body.
The company has not announced a specific target date for its robot.