Watching a Robot Assemble an IKEA Chair Is a Good Exercise in Humility

And he doesn't even yell at his robot wife while doing it

By Kirk Miller

IKEA Robot
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19 April 2018

If robots are gonna take our jobs, we found at least one we’ll happily give up.

Researchers at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore just announced that they've created a robot that can assemble flat-packed IKEA furniture on its own.

Using 3D cameras and a series of robotic arms with grippers, the robot (coded via algorithms obtained through open-source libraries) put together a Stefan chair in just under nine minutes, with an additional 11+ minutes used to plan the construction, and three seconds to locate the parts.

Twenty minutes to build an IKEA product is pretty good ... though it took three years for the team to program the robot.

Still, it’s going to get better — and more independent. Says the robot team’s Assistant Professor, Pham Quang Cuong: "We are looking to integrate more artificial intelligence into this approach to make the robot more autonomous so it can learn the different steps of assembling a chair through human demonstration or by reading the instruction manual, or even from an image of the assembled product."

The tech is also being revamped for use within the automotive and aircraft manufacturing industries. So, uh, maybe those jobs aren't so safe after all.

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