Robot Conquers One of the Hardest Human Tasks: Assembling Ikea Furniture

Researchers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have programmed a robot to create and carry out a plan to assemble an Ikea chair. The robot was built with custom software, a three-dimensional camera, two arms, grippers, and force detectors. The machine was fed a set of instructions on how the chair components fit together, and over about 20 minutes it performed the assembly in three stages. The robot first looked at the scattered components, photographing the scene and matching each part to one modeled in its manual. It then developed a plan to quickly assemble the chair without its arms colliding with each other or with the various parts, and finally executed that plan. The robot used grippers to pick up wooden pins and force sensors at its “wrists” to identify when the pins, searching in a spiral, slid into their holes. The arms then worked together to press the sides of the chair frame together.

More info here: The New York Times, Niraj Chokshi

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