Artificial Intelligence is the name of the game, when it comes to the ‘IKEABots’ designed by a team at MIT. Touted as possibly the ﬁrst robotic system to assemble a piece of IKEA furniture, these smart robots were successful in composing a piece of furniture ‘all by themselves’. By this ‘all by themselves’ phrase – we mean that the robots were not programmed with instructions on how to assemble the item. Baffled? Well, you should be; as the IKEABots are termed as ‘autonomous’. In other words, the robots used advanced ‘geometric reasoning system’ and a ‘symbolic planner’ to achieve their target (rather than being fed with instructional data).
In this regard, the working scope of the whole robotic system was determined solely by the structural progression of the furniture. The IKEABots worked towards a solution on how fix the components, while at the same time making deft use of the screw holes. Even the ultimate form of the furniture was unknown to them, thus having their striking resemblance to the thought process of a human mind.
Now, beyond uniquely smart software of this system, the job was also helped by the ‘Torq Gripper’ of the robots. Comprising of two counter rotating wheels connected by rubber bands, these grips are conducive to holding onto any shape or form.
At the end of the day, it was pretty simple furniture item to assemble. However, the sheer potentiality of robots autonomously crafting our home furniture pieces (and even larger assembly tasks) does hint at some science fiction ambit. Surely, this must be the future!