Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming sci-fi action epic Pacific Rim features gigantic, monster-fighting robots operated by two people. Ross Knepper of M.I.T. figured out a way to make two robots do the work of one person, only more efficiently, if not quicker. Life is full of backwards parallels. Maybe Knepper’s dog is named Hellboy.
Knepper’s robots are Kuka youBots by name, and by trade, they build Ikea furniture. This obviously isn’t the most earth-shattering invention, or the most furniture-building. Oh wait, it is that last one. Working in tandem, the bots will screw legs onto coffee table tops with the dexterity of two fairly intelligent children. Check the dynamic duo out below and think about that Ziploc bag of extra furniture parts you’ve accumulated over the years.
We’ve seen cool furniture around these parts, and no one is going to fool themselves into thinking that Ikea furniture is cool, so much as it is cheap, useful, and simple. But furniture assembly isn’t a common thread for even the most benign robot stories. And the impressive part is the working-together bit.
The software files that come with the furniture would generate the instructions for the robots to use in their construction. As of now, the only thing they’re good at building is the coffee tables, but the plan is to widen the system’s capabilities and apply the technique for different types of furniture. And it hardly seems like simple shit like this is the limit when it comes to the technology, so expect to see tag teams of shoe-shining robots and windshield-washing robots in the near future.