This Robot Can Assemble An IKEA Chair On Its Own

Posted: Apr 19 2018, 11:20am CDT | by , in News | Technology News

This Robot Can Assemble an IKEA Chair on Its Own

Scientists teach a robot to build an IKEA chair.

Assembling an IKEA furniture can be fun once every while. If you need to assemble a lot of IKEA it becomes tiresome, but now there is hope for help. Scientists in Singapore thought a robot how to assemble an IKEA chair. Watch the robot do its impressive thing in the video below.

The two robotic arms can assemble the IKEA Stefan chair in 8 minutes and 55 seconds. Prior to the assembly, the robot needed 11 minutes and 21 seconds to independently plan how to build the chair and 3 seconds to locate the parts.

Assistant Prof Pham 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. 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 robot is designed to mimic the genericity of the human “hardware” used to assemble objects: the ‘eyes’ through a 3D camera and the ‘arms’ through industrial robotic arms that are capable of six-axis motion. Each arm is equipped with parallel grippers to pick up objects. Mounted on the wrists are force sensors that determine how strongly the “fingers” are gripping and how powerfully they push objects into contact with each other.

The robot starts the assembly process by taking 3D photos of the parts laid out on the floor to generate a map of the estimated positions of the different parts. This is to replicate, as much as possible, the cluttered environment after humans unbox and prepare to put together a build-it-yourself chair. The challenge here is to determine a sufficiently precise localization in a cluttered environment quickly and reliably.

Next, using algorithms developed by the team, the robot plans a two-handed motion that is fast and collision-free. This motion pathway needs to be integrated with visual and tactile perception, grasping and execution.

To make sure that the robotic arms are able to grip the pieces tightly and perform tasks such as inserting wooden plugs, the amount of force exerted has to be regulated. This is challenging because industrial robots, designed to be precise at positioning, are bad at regulating forces, Asst Prof Pham explained.

The force sensors mounted on the wrists help to determine the amount of force required, allowing the robot to precisely and consistently detect holes by sliding the wooden plug on the surfaces of the workpieces, and perform tight insertions.

The research has been published in the paper titled "Can robots assemble an IKEA chair" in Science Robotics: Volume 3, Issue 17, April 2018.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Manfred "Luigi" Lugmayr () is the founding Chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 25 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets, tech and online shopping. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology news and tech and toy shopping hub.
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