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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 (opens in new tab) from Sylvain Calinon (opens in new tab) on Vimeo (opens in new tab).

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 Ghose

Tia is the managing editor and was previously a senior writer for Live Science. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Wired.com and other outlets. She holds a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington, a graduate certificate in science writing from UC Santa Cruz and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Tia was part of a team at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that published the Empty Cradles series on preterm births, which won multiple awards, including the 2012 Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.