Singaporean robot can assemble IKEA furniture

That’s the future of our furniture. Researchers from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have programmed a robot to assemble a ‘Stafan’ chair for the most part. That is about the same as most people come with an IKEA piece of furniture, so that’s not a bad performance!

The results were published this week in the Science Robotics journal. It is not that the researchers had a mega-shout to build IKEA-stuff (all silliness aside: it is not that bad) but the different skills that a robot needs to do that were a nice subject of research.

Unfortunately, this does not mean that we will soon be able to take a robot from the furniture store to put our shit together. The robots first had to be trained by first reading the manual (they already have a line ahead of most of us) but then they had to do it with two grippers, two arms, a three-dimensional camera and pressure sensors. Quite a bit of material.

The researchers in Singapore were not the first to try this with robots, precisely because the actions are so well known to people and it is typically something that many people do hope to be able to do with robots in a couple of years. What you can see in the video is the result of three years of work, so, for now, we are even better off if we put the stuff together, unfortunately.

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