Sunday, April 22, 2018

Heroic Robotics

A pair of robots has assembled an Ikea chair.

The Economist reports:
In a paper just published in Science Robotics, a group of researchers at Nanyang Technological University, in Singapore, report having managed to get a pair of ordinary industrial robots to assemble most of a piece of flat-pack IKEA furniture.

The chair in question was a model called STEFAN. The robots’ job was to assemble the frame. This requires several pieces of dowelling to be inserted into pre-drilled holes before the parts are pressed together. In total, says Pham Quang Cuong, one of the paper’s authors, 19 components are involved.

The robots were off-the-shelf arm-shaped machines of the sort found in factories around the world, combined with a stereoscopic camera that can produce three-dimensional images. A pair of videos released by the researchers show the robot arms making various mistakes, dropping dowelling on the floor or misaligning components, before succeeding at their task after almost nine minutes of slow, careful work...

the robots needed quite a bit of hand-holding. They were given precise instructions before they started (along the lines of, “Arm 1: take the side piece. Arm 2: grab a dowel. Arm 1: rotate side piece so that hole is pointing up. Arm 2: insert dowel into top-left hole.” And so on.). Before the nine minutes of assembly began, the robots spent a further 11 minutes scanning their environments and planning the movements needed to carry out these instructions, before they tried to execute them

-Robert Wenzel  

-Robert Wenzel  


  1. Begs the question of course: How long did it take to build the second chair?

  2. Automation has it's place, but what jobs will take the place of those by robots? It's always a libertardian unproven assumption that the jobs removed will always be replaced. But it's not happening.

    1. But what if they’re white robots?

    2. For many industries, there are more people employed by them now than historically, despite all the automation that has taken place. And new industries have arisen (such as those which develop the technologies behind automation). I hate quoting state statistics but, per the BLS:

      In any event, the key to an increased standard of living is not the number of jobs (unless you regard jobs as leisure), but the amount of stuff produced per individual that can be used to satisfy individuals' preferences. I'm guessing you would prefer to be living now, with all the stuff available to make your life more pleasant, than in the 1900s.

    3. "I'm guessing you would prefer to be living now, with all the stuff available to make your life more pleasant, than in the 1900s."

      Where did I say that? Nowhere in my comment.

      This brings up the issue of immigration and how it needs to be around zero.

    4. Well, if I guessed wrong, please correct me. Would you prefer to be living in the 1900s without modern amenities? Do you think that people have a higher standard of living now than then, despite all the automation that has taken place?

  3. Terrific, now IKEA can move on to selling flat-pack robots.

  4. Never fear!! The Great Orange One will put a stop to this mechanized invasion, and make ‘Murica great again!
    Fear the machines!
    Down with technology!
    Hopefully Trump doesn’t think the “Terminator” was a documentary.