Furniture-building robot assembles IKEA chair in less than 9 minutes

Scientists in Singapore say the robot was made to do the delicate work quickly.

Taking hours to set up IKEA furniture or fearing losing all the screws and fixtures could be a thing of the past, sometime in the near future.

Scientists at the Nanyang Technological University’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in Singapore said they have created a robot designed to do the job and it's already built an IKEA chair.

In just over 8 minutes, the robot set up IKEA’s Stefan chair, the research team at NTU said in a statement.

“For a robot, putting together an IKEA chair with such precision is more complex than it looks,” Pham said in the statement. “The job of assembly, which may come naturally to humans, has to be broken down into different steps, such as identifying where the different chair parts are, the force required to grip the parts, and making sure the robotic arms move without colliding into each other. Through considerable engineering effort, we developed algorithms that will enable the robot to take the necessary steps to assemble the chair on its own.”

The robot includes a 3D camera and two robotic arms with fingers, or “grippers,” that give it the ability to pick up and put down objects, according to Assistant Professor Pham Quang Cuong and his team.

Sensors on the robot can “precisely and consistently detect holes” on the chair, allowing for “tight insertions” according to the release.

Looking into the future, the team said it hopes to take the successful technology of the chair-building robot to other industries, including automotive and aircraft manufacturing.