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Now researchers in Singapore say they have trained one to perform another task known to confound humans: figuring out how to assemble furniture from Ikea.
A team from Nanyang Technological University programmed a robot to create and execute a plan to piece together most of Ikea’s $25 solid-pine Stefan chair on its own, calling on a medley of human skills to do so. The researchers explained their work in a study published last week in the journal Science Robotics.
“If you think about it, it requires perception, it requires you to plan a motion, it requires control between the robot and the environment, it requires transporting an object with two arms simultaneously,” said Quang-Cuong Pham, an assistant professor of engineering at the university and one of the paper’s authors. “Because this task requires so many interesting skills for robots, we felt that it could be a good project to push our capabilities to the limit.”
He and his Nanyang colleagues who worked on the study, Francisco Suárez-Ruiz and Xian Zhou, aren’t alone.
In recent years, a handful of others have set out to teach robots to assemble Ikea furniture, a task that can mimic the manipulations robots can or may someday perform on factory floors and that involves a brand many know all too well.
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