In what could be yet another sign that machines are getting ever closer to a Skynet-style uprising, engineers in Singapore have created a robot that can assemble Ikeafurniture quicker than most humans, and without experiencing a stress-induced fit of rage.
The scientists bought a simple Ikea chair and placed its parts randomly around the robot, replicating the clutter humans get when unpacking a delivery.
Now a robot has been developed by scientists in Singapore that has penetrated the final frontier of human endeavour: successfully assembling pieces of Ikea furniture from a flat pack.
Each arm has a similar range of motions to that of a human, while sensors mounted on the wrists monitor how much force is being exerted by mechanical fingers as it picks up tiny parts to expertly put the chair together.
"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", he said.
NTU's robot, which took three years to build, consists of two arms and a 3D camera that lets it read the furniture parts presented to it. It might depend on how handy you are and what type of chair, but anything around 20 minutes is a pretty respectable time by our reckoning.
Next, using algorithms developed by the team, the robot plans a two-handed motion that is fast and collision-free. First though, researchers are hoping to improve the robot's dexterity so they can apply their technology to the automotive and aircraft manufacturing industry.
The robot was built to manipulate objects in the same way a human would.
All the components that make up the robot are easily available and relatively low in cost.
"But I would envision this last step not in the next probably five or six years or so", said Pham, who added that this is one activity that's unlikely to be become a robot-only task. It also has a medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London. The University's main campus is frequently listed among the Top 15 most attractive university campuses in the world and has 57 Green Mark awards (equivalent to LEED-certified), of which 54 are Green Mark Platinum.