Robots assembling IKEA furniture is not new (like these guys with the LACK side table), but those machines required custom-made mechanical hands to hold and twist furniture parts into place. The NTU team accomplished the task with off-the-shelf hardware and software available on open-access libraries on the internet.
The trio acquired a couple of industrial robot arms with gripper claws (like the ones in arcade games), a camera with 3-D vision and force sensors.
Granted the assembly is not without human intervention. Three years of engineering to be exact. First, the team needed to teach the robots to insert pins to connect the parts, as well as manipulate IKEA parts around, before they let them have a go at the STEFAN chair.
Smooth operators. Assembled without tantrums. Or break-ups. (The bloopers below is definitely closer to real life.)
Jules Yap started IKEAHackers.net in 2006 as a personal blog to showcase the most impressive IKEA hacks from all over the world. Since then, she has learned a lot more about power tools and DIY. Her site has helped thousands modify IKEA furniture with step-by-step tutorials, craft projects and home styling.