If you're in your mid-20's and haven't spent a desperate night tipsily trying to assemble what certainly SEEMS to be an ordinary, straightforward chair from Swedish furniture giant IKEA, then you must be living in an apartment full of tables and couches on the verge of collapse because there's no way you're doing it right. IKEA furniture is known for two things: its affordable price and its difficult assembly process. Apparently a team of researchers in Singapore were so fed up with trying to track down the endless screws and pegs hidden inside the dozen (or so) plastic bags that they decided to just design a robot to build IKEA furniture for them.
Square peg in a round hole? Not for this #NTUsg robot. With two robotic arms and 8 mins 55 seconds, it put together… https://t.co/44my3URAzM— NTU Singapore (@NTU Singapore) 1524121201.0
Of course, the robot didn't learn to do it on its first try.
Off-the-shelf #robotic hardware, coded by @NTUsg scientists, were able to complete a chair-building task in roughly… https://t.co/2h9a9TC3qy— Science Robotics (@Science Robotics) 1524165072.0
Though it took only 20 minutes for the robot to assemble a standard IKEA chair, it took the team of researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) 3 years to teach it to do so. The robot (which is made of "arms, grippers, sensors, and 3D cameras") is only at the beginning of its journey, however, as researcher Quang-Cuong Pham told Reuters:
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.
Okay, sure, fine but can that robot drink wine at the same time? https://t.co/AblV9H16HS— Teddy Amenabar (@Teddy Amenabar) 1524089059.0
IKEA is behind the technological advances 100%!
I'll bet you didn't know IKEA had a global business area manager of kitchen and dining. Well, they do and her name is Cindy Andersen. Anderson commented to the Daily Mail:
It's interesting to see an example of how robots could potentially contribute to our vision of creating a better everyday life for many people.
We are very positive about embracing new technology.
When the robots rise up, you can be sure that “you made us assemble IKEA furniture” will be one of the reasons they… https://t.co/t0QNbAhJgt— Librarianshipwreck (@Librarianshipwreck) 1524162861.0
It's no coincidence the robots were designed in Singapore.
Due to the country's strict laws which severely cap the amount of "cheap foreign labor" available to companies, many businesses turn to automation and robotics to "boost productivity." In fact, many restaurants and hotels use robots for everyday tasks!
THE FUTURE IS NOW.
This Japanese restaurant in Singapore serves customers' food with a robot! https://t.co/yd9T29F4b7— Xavier Lur (@Xavier Lur) 1502705833.0
Robotics in Singapore - Restaurants, hotels & retailers have become the biggest casualties of the labor crunch sinc… https://t.co/zTqHdcFyId— John Gale (@John Gale) 1524260046.0
Twitter is awestruck by these talented machines.
My god, they've done it. Skynet is active. "Researchers in Singapore explained how they created a robot that could… https://t.co/VJBw9OgGGm— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) 1524087393.0
Sadly, however, all good things must come to an end.
Those two robots are now divorced.— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) 1524087459.0
There are those on Twitter who said the robot was too good to be true from the very start.
@newscientist If you could afford a robot to assemble, why would you be buying IKEA?— Stiles Bitchley ✫✫ (@Stiles Bitchley ✫✫) 1524161873.0
If you're thinking of moving, perhaps now is a good time to hold off.
In a couple years, you may be able to hire a robot assistant who will handle the IKEA assembly in your stead. They'll take care of everything—the building AND the crying.