On the YouTube channel Stuff Made Here, engineer Shane Wighton showed his new creation: a robot that completely autonomously collects puzzles. It is enough for the author to put the pieces of the puzzle on the table, after which the robot itself sorts everything and puts it on the table in the correct order, row by row.
Of course, the computer has no eyes, so each piece is photographed with a special camera that simulates shooting from an infinite distance. Together with backlighting, this ensures that the computer does not consider the side face of the puzzle to be part of its shape, which would confuse the calculations.
For assembly, Shane built a special table on which the robot arm moves on the chassis. On the side there is a “store” for sorted parts, similar to the holes in a pool table. This allows you not to store the scanned pieces on the table.
When each piece is sorted, the contents of the “stores” are reassembled in the correct order so that the robot effectively lays out one piece after another in even lines. True, in 3 weeks of work, the author was able to set everything up only to assemble tiny puzzles of 3 × 3 elements in size.
This is just the beginning: in the future, Whyton wants to take a 5,000-piece puzzle, paint it white, and have a robot put it all together. It would take a human a few years to complete this task, but a robot should do it much faster. True, for the calculations you will need an incredibly powerful computer – or a new approach to how it calculates the solution to the problem.
Shane promised to share the solution he found in the second part of the video – if everything works out and it ever comes out, of course.