Monday, August 22, 2016
We may not think about it, but our smartphones and tablets still rely on (a lot) of humans hand to assemble them. MIT is working on a new system that might teach devices to assemble themselves.
You need only take a look at the sheer number of employees Foxconn has (1.3 million!) to get an idea of the workforce needed to assemble our electronic devices. For many tasks, there's no substitute for a human, and even if you factor in robotics, it requires lots of complex systems that may not work as well as a human. But for MIT, the trick is to get rid of humans and robots alike, and let devices assemble themselves.
This demo unit is a simple cellphone, but the key point is that instead of requiring a human to place its front and back covers, you need only throw it all into a tumbler, and let it spin around for a while. After some time, the magnets on the components will work its magic and snap it all together.
... In the not so distant future, should your smartphone break off into a dozen pieces after a fall, you may need to simply throw it into a washing machine and set it for the centrifuge cycle. :)