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In Brief

Take That, IKEA Furniture: Assembling Robot Lends a Hand

A robot helps assemble ikea furniture
Researchers developed a furniture-assembling robot (Image credit: Sylvain Calinon | Vimeo)

For those who are tired of assembling IKEA furniture, researchers have created a new robot to help with the task.

The robot uses a force sensor and a vision-tracking system to learn how a user wants it to move. Then the robot essentially becomes an extra pair of hands — moving freely when the user tugs on a table top, flipping the tabletop over, and then becoming stiff as a person screws in the legs, Gizmodo reported.

A robot learning to collaborate with a user to assemble an IKEA table from Sylvain Calinon on Vimeo.

Unfortunately, the robot can't do everything. It doesn't know which pieces go where, meaning there could still be some head-scratching involved in assembling the Expedit shelf. 

Tia Ghose
Tia has interned at Science News, Wired.com, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has written for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Scientific American, and ScienceNow. She has a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California Santa Cruz.