I can think of few tasks that most people would rather relegate to a robot than assembling Ikea furniture. I personally love assembling Scandinavian stick furniture, but I suspect I’m in a minuscule minority. There is a reason why there are dozens of YouTube videos of people attempting to assemble Ikea furniture while drunk or high, little kids and old people attempting it, and other, similar scenarios engineered for confusion, frustration, and hilarity to ensue.
We can now add robots to that undignified list.
These Ikeabots were programmed by the Control Intelligence Robot Group at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore to assemble an Ikea STEFAN chair without any human intervention. After much coding, training, subtask perfecting, and a lot of trial and error, the dual robot arms were able to successfully assemble a chair in 20 minutes.
And you know there can’t be videos of robots learning to assemble furniture without a blooper reel. As IEEE Spectrum writes: “Too bad all of those clips cut out just before the robot grabs the piece and throws it against the wall while screaming incoherently.”
It used to be that fetching a beer from the fridge was the holy grail of domestic robot engineering and autonomy. The gauntlet for a new domestic robo-challenge has now been thrown down upon Robotkind. I see a future feature at Ikea stores, or your local home or grocery store, like a CoinStar, where you drop off your BILLY shelves and let robots put them together while you shop.
There are a number of additional videos of the NTU robots, as well as a few other Ikeabots, attempting to assemble furniture on the IEEE Spectrum site.
[Via Nick Normal/Adafruit]
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