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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

IKEA Robotic Furniture Assembly

 Had heard a previous overview of this, if this could be done effectively it  would likely increase sales.  As I understand it is still a proposal, tell me if otherwise.

Need help building IKEA furniture? This robot can lend a hand  by Caitlin Dawson, University of Southern California  in Techxplore

As robots increasingly join forces to work with humans—from nursing care homes to warehouses to factories—they must be able to proactively offer support. But first, robots have to learn something we know instinctively: how to anticipate people's needs.

With that goal in mind, researchers at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering have created a new robotic system that accurately predicts how a human will build an IKEA bookcase, and then lends a hand—providing the shelf, bolt or screw necessary to complete the task. The research was presented at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation on May 30, 2021.

"We want to have the human and robot work together—a robot can help you do things faster and better by doing supporting tasks, like fetching things," said the study's lead author Heramb Nemlekar. "Humans will still perform the primary actions, but can offload simpler secondary actions to the robot."

Nemlekar, a Ph.D. student in computer science, is supervised by Stefanos Nikolaidis, an assistant professor of computer science, and co-authored the paper with Nikolaidis and SK Gupta, a professor of aerospace, mechanical engineering and computer science who holds the Smith International Professorship in Mechanical Engineering.

Adapting to variations

In 2018, a robot created by researchers in Singapore famously learned to assemble an IKEA chair itself. In this new study, the USC research team aims to focus instead on human-robot collaboration.

There are advantages to combining human intelligence and robot strength. In a factory for instance, a human operator can control and monitor production, while the robot performs the physically strenuous work. Humans are also more adept at those fiddly, delicate tasks, like wiggling a screw around to make it fit.

The key challenge to overcome: humans tend to perform actions in different orders. For instance, imagine you're building a bookcase—do you tackle the easy tasks first, or go straight for the difficult ones? How does the robot helper quickly adapt to variations in its human partners?  ... ' 

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