Seeming how some of us are lost when reading instruction manuals, I can imagine it being easy for everyone assembling an IKEA furniture. It has been said assembling that furniture often lead to quarrels among couples, with each partner feeling frustrated at the nagging or lack of following instructions by the other.
Be that as it may, researchers from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have created a robot that makes assembling an IKEA chair seem so easy. In fact, they assembled the furniture in under 20 minutes; spending the first 11 minutes and 21 seconds studying and planning the motion pathways, 3 seconds locating the parts, and 8 minutes 55 seconds doing the actual assembling.
The robot is said to have been built from off-the-shelf parts. The researchers fitted it with an array of sensors, 3D camera, gripping robotic arms, and some really complex AI program.
Assistant Professor Pham Quang Cuong, who designed the robot with help from a team from NTU’s School Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering said:
“For a robot, putting together an IKEA chair with such precision is more complex than it looks. The job of assembly, which may come naturally to humans, has to be broken down into different steps, such as identifying where the different chair parts are, the force required to grip the parts, and making sure the robotic arms move without colliding into each other. Through considerable engineering effort, we developed algorithms that will enable the robot to take the necessary steps to assemble the chair on its own.”
The bot started the process by first taking pictures of all the parts, which the researchers so carelessly laid out on the floor in a mess, and from the photos, it made a map of each part and its position on the floor.
Next, the robot set out to assemble the pieces together with the help of pressure sensors to help it apply just the right amount of force for each task such as slotting dowels and then fastening the components. You can check for yourself in the video below:
The next milestone, the researchers, are working on is developing an even more advanced AI to enable the bot to assemble other kinds of the IKEA furniture by merely looking at the instruction manual or previously fully assembled furniture.