Flatpack fear no more? Robot assembles
IKEA chair frame
Send a link to a friend
[April 23, 2018]
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Robots in
Singapore have completed a task many humans dread - assembling
flat-packed IKEA furniture.
Sifting through pages of instructions and a jumble of screws and bolts
to build the low-cost Swedish furniture may soon be a thing of the past
given advances in technology, say researchers at the city-state's
Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
The scientists spent three years programming the robot - made of arms,
grippers, sensors and 3D cameras - which assembled the frame of an IKEA
dining chair in around 20 minutes.
They say it may not be long before such robots can fully assemble a
piece of furniture from a manual, verbal instruction or by just looking
at an image of the finished item.
"We have achieved the low level capability to teach the robot 'how to do
it' and then in the next five to 10 years, high level reasoning - the
'what to do' - could be done too," one of the researchers Quang-Cuong
Pham told Reuters.
Pham said the team at NTU were looking to work with artificial
intelligence experts to try and hone the process.
Cindy Andersen, global business area manager of kitchen and dining at
IKEA, told Britain's Daily Mail newspaper:
[to top of second column]
Robots assemble an Ikea chair at Nanyang Technological University
(NTU) in Singapore April 17, 2018. Picture taken April 17, 2018.
NTU/Handout via REUTERS
"It's interesting to see an example of how robots could potentially
contribute to our vision of creating a better everyday life for many
"We are very positive about embracing new technology."
Singapore has been pushing businesses to invest in automation and
robotics to boost productivity as it keeps a tight leash on cheap
Some restaurants and hotels in the city-state use robots to deliver
food to customers and collect used plates and cutlery.
(Reporting by John Geddie; Editing by Michael Perry)
[© 2018 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2018 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content.