As far as machines are concerned, it's not easy.
have you ever assembled the furniture yourself? how long did it take you to install a chair? Today, let's take a look at how the robotic arm assembles an Ikea chair.
the act of assembling parts may be very natural to humans, and people have been familiar with the process since playing with toys when they were young. But for the robotic arm, the task is actually more complicated than it looks: it involves many different steps, such as first identifying the part through image processing, and then planning the action and calculating how much force is used to grasp the part. the manipulators also need to coordinate their actions to avoid colliding with each other.
this robotic arm system for assembling furniture was developed by researchers at Nanyang University of Technology in Singapore. The system will first take pictures of the parts with a 3D camera, analyze their position and plan their movements, and then the two robotic arms work together to pick up the parts for assembly. The mechanical sensors on the manipulator also help them adjust their movements. for example, when they want to insert the mortise and tenon structures together, the manipulator grabs the protruding side of the part and glides on the surface until it feels a change in force. it means it's moved to the corresponding hole.
it took the robotic arm 8 minutes and 55 seconds to assemble the Ikea chair, which is shown in the video. However, before getting started, the system also took 11 minutes and 21 seconds to plan the motion path and 3 seconds to locate the parts. This time is not slow compared with humans, but the system is not yet fully automated: machines cannot complete tasks by reading their own assembly instructions, and researchers still need to preset the basic steps.
the day when a robotic arm with artificial intelligence can read the instructions by itself, it may be able to liberate the remnant stars.
related report: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/04/can-robot-build-ikea-chair-faster-you
original paper: http://robotics.sciencemag.org/content/3/17/eaat6385
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