All set - thanks to robot vision
Ensenso 3D camera technology enables robots to assemble furniture autonomously
Scientists at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed a robot that can independently assemble the individual components of a chair without interruption. The robot consists of an Ensenso N35 3D camera and two robot arms equipped with grippers for picking up objects.
The robot hardware is designed to simulate how people mount objects: the "eyes" are replaced by a 3D camera and the "arms" by industrial robot arms capable of moving in six axes.
The robot starts the assembly process by taking 3D images of the parts lying on the ground to create a map of the estimated positions of the various components. This task is performed by an Ensenso 3D camera that works according to the "projected texture stereo vision" principle (Stereo Vision), which imitates human vision: Two cameras acquire images from the same scene from two different positions.
"For a robot, putting together an IKEA chair with such precision is more complex than it looks," explains Professor Pham Quang Cuong of NTU. "The job of assembly, which may come naturally to humans, has to be broken down into different steps, such as identifying where the different chair parts are, the force required to grip the parts, and making sure the robotic arms move without colliding into each other. Through considerable engineering effort, we developed algorithms that will enable the robot to take the necessary steps to assemble the chair on its own." The result: the NTU robot installs the "Stefan" chair from Ikea in just 8 minutes and 55 seconds.
3D image processing using Ensenso stereo 3D cameras is the key to the solution. It convinces not only through accuracy, but also in terms of economy and speed.