In Brief: Designing a Robot to Assemble an IKEA Chair

By Norman Chan

Considered a moonshot for robotics.

MIT Technology Review reports on the experiments of roboticists who are determined to develop a system that allows a robot to autonomously assemble an IKEA chair. Why that particular task? Because while robots can work in factories putting together automobiles in highly controlled situations, that environment doesn't require the machine vision intelligence and fine motor control required to sort and identify components from a scattered kit of pieces and then put them together. The highly dexterous task of "pin insertion" requires complex new protocols for object recognition and manipulation--the culmination of which the researchers demonstrate in the video below. (h/t Gizmodo)