Robots can now assemble your flat-pack furniture

  • 20/04/2018

An activity theorised to be a leading cause of divorce may be able to be handed off to the robots pretty soon.

The great struggle of assembling flatpack furniture - scrambling through instructions, desperately searching for that last screw - could be outsourced to the robots, thanks to a group of scientists in Singapore.

It took three years, but the researchers at Nanyang Technological University were able to design, build and program a robot that can assemble Ikea furniture.

And it's faster than humans, taking less than nine minutes to assemble a simple chair. In comparison, the Swedish furniture company claims "most people" take 10 to 15 minutes to complete the challenge.

One day robots may be able to fully assemble furniture just by looking at an image of the finished item, the researchers said.

"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," one of the researchers told Reuters.

In New Zealand, the robot revolution has already begun. A robotic apple picker developed near Tauranga has seen fruit growers turn to tech to cope with a growing labour shortage.