Japanese Robot Hangs Drywall Like a Pro

©. National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology

The HRP-5Ps were created by man. They evolved. There are many copies. And they have a plan.

Hanging drywall is hard work; workers get paid by the foot and have to go really fast, and the boards are heavy. But now, roboticists at Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science have built this incredible drywall-hanging robot. According to a Google translation of the press release,

By incorporating robot intelligence consisting of environmental measurement / object recognition technology, whole-body motion planning / control technology, task description / execution management technology, and high reliability systemization technology, it is possible to create plaster, which is a typical heavy work at the construction site. We realized autonomous execution of board construction.

It is a response to the declining birthrate and aging of the population, and the realization that many industries will soon have labor shortages.

While having screw guns for hands makes some sense, it seems totally crazy to me to make a robot that hangs board just as inefficiently as a human does, picking it off a pile and trying to screw it to the studs. In Sweden (and even in New Hampshire*) robots install drywall much more quickly and with higher quality by looking at the entire building process, instead of elaborately imitating humans and doing it the old-fashioned way.

On the other hand, if it can do this, it can do lots of other tasks. And indeed, like Cylons, they have a plan:

Promote utilization of HRP-5P by industry-academia collaboration as a research and development platform aiming for practical use of humanoid robots. Robot intelligence research and development on the platform is aimed at autonomous replacement of various work at the site of assembly of large structures such as buildings, houses, aircraft and ships. This will compensate for the shortage of workers, free human beings from heavy labor work, and support to focus on higher value added work.

Soon, they will be doing everything.

Hat tip to Engadget.

*I previously linked to Bensonwood and wrote that they were in Vermont. They are in New Hampshire.