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Singapore Researchers Create Robot That Can Assemble IKEA Furniture


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.

Of course, the robot didn't learn to do it on its first try.

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.

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.

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!


Twitter is awestruck by these talented machines.

Sadly, however, all good things must come to an end.

There are those on Twitter who said the robot was too good to be true from the very start.

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.

H/T - Twitter, Reuters

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