MIT’s Jenga-playing has the delicate touch

Robots are far superior to humans in many respects, but they struggle greatly with something we all do instinctively: picking things up and putting things down.

There are various research projects ongoing that look at the issue of creating robotics that can handle intricate objects on the fly. I looked at one effort from Autodesk last year. 

Today, MIT published a paper (covered here in Wired) on its incredible Jenga-playing robot. Here it is in action:

We’ve seen Jenga robots before, but nothing this advanced. Identifying target bricks, applying just enough pressure to push it out, knowing when to retreive it from the other side, and then delicately placing it on top – that’s impressive.

It’s a big leap from previous Jenga robots we’ve seen. I loved seeing this rather brutal beast in action a couple of years ago: