back to article MIT, Autodesk develop AI that can figure out confusing Lego instructions

Stumped by a Lego set? A new machine learning framework can interpret those instructions for you.  Researchers at Stanford University, MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, and the Autodesk AI Lab have collaborated to develop a novel learning-based framework that can interpret 2D instructions to build 3D …

  1. RockBurner

    It's stories like this that make we wonder at the sheer ability of the human brain..... and then wonder again at the fact that it seems some humans need help to do things as simple as follow Lego instructions... otherwise why would this research even be happening?

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Exactly!

      "the researchers said it outperformed existing methods across the board" - except for the human method, that is...

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >wonder again at the fact that it seems some humans need help to do things as simple as follow Lego instructions.

      Well the instructions were written by humans , so ..

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Well the instructions were written by humans , so .."

        Yes, self-assembly furniture instructions can vary wildly from easy-to-follow through to who-the-fuck-drew-these-pictures-a-5-year-old?

        Saving money by avoiding having proper technical writers creating instructions and good translators localising them by switching to hieroglyphics was a huge step backwards. Who wants to put money on someone deciding emojiis will be the next disruptive step in instruction "writing"?

    3. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      > otherwise why would this research even be happening?

      Seems like an excellent practical topic for AI research. It certainly meets the 'testable' bit of SMART because it can be connected up with a virtual Lego app and actually complete the build.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        On the other hand, what is it actually doing that's useful? Id the instructions are well done in the first place, then who needs it? If the instructions are badly done, then is the solution really to spend a fortune creating an AI to turn them into something people can follow instead of just sacking the instruction creators and employing someone capable of doing the job properly in the first place?

        On the other hand, as a learning experience for an AI system that might be used for something else, then yes, it might be useful in that, at least as far as Lego or even Minecraft, it can then go and test it's results and refine them.

  2. Ikoth
    Headmaster

    I just saved you an "s"

    "...Identifying correspondence between 2D and 3D objects, and dealing with a lot of basic pieces, like Legos. "

    The plural of Lego is Lego, same as with sheep.

    Put the spurious "s" back in the letter box, and use it next time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I just saved you an "s"

      > The plural of Lego is Lego, same as with sheep.

      Since when the plural of sheep is Lego?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I just saved you an "s"

        Since we are arguing grammar related issues.

        Change from: "Since when the plural of sheep is Lego?"

        Change to: When did the plural of sheep become Lego? or Since when did the plural of sheep become Lego?

        Reason: My subconscious says it sounds more grammatically correct.

        Comments: Feel free to comment on any prescriptive grammar rules that may apply.

  3. IGotOut Silver badge

    If you can't build IKEA furniture...

    ... don't try anything more technical, like making a cup of instant coffee.

    1. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: If you can't build IKEA furniture...

      Yuk, it has been some time since I last sampled the beverage described as instant coffee. Every morning I come downstairs, dispose of the previous day’s grounds while the water heats, assemble the aeropress, then grind the beans of the day fresh.

      I drink it black without sugar. I would have to have a sugar for instant, that stuff is bitter.

      1. Snowy Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: If you can't build IKEA furniture...

        I like my instant coffee with no sugar and no milk, it reminds me the world is full of bitter disappointment, unlike my coffee which is just bitter but not disappointing.

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: If you can't build IKEA furniture...

          Or like my wife, who is bitter and disappointed...

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: If you can't build IKEA furniture...

            I like my coffee like I like my Women.

            Strong and a vital part of the workplace

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: If you can't build IKEA furniture...

      I cant build Ikea furniture - but that's because I have some strength in my forearms and seem to over-tighten those things the screws fit into. It may be down to subconscious anger at the sexism implicit in the she buys it I put it up in this house but I think we've spent more on wood hardener and glue to fix the wood foam these things are made from than we have on the 'furniture' kits themselves.

    3. Stork Silver badge

      Re: If you can't build IKEA furniture...

      Totally agree. I have consistently found, during assembly of more IKEA stuff than I like to think about, that if it doesn’t work it’s because I skipped too fast through the manual.

      The holes match and the bits are there, which is more than you can say about some alternatives.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: If you can't build IKEA furniture...

        "if it doesn’t work it’s because I skipped too fast through the manual."

        I'm of a mindset that likes to check through the instructions first, lay out all the parts then follow the instructions through step-by-step.

        Brother-in-Law is the type who just dives in with a "suck it and see" attitude.

        He asked me to come help build and install the new 3-door Ikea sliding wardrobe system he'd bought.

        Lets just say I had two of the new sliding wardrobe doors up and working while he was still trying to take apart the one he'd managed to sort of assemble, but this time putting all the right parts on in the right places and order, ideally with no bits left over this time. :-)

        He still thinks he knows what he's doing and that his way is better.

  4. Holobob

    Lego for the blind

    I had a (very quick) look at this, I wonder if it could create text instructions, which could be converted to audio for blind lego builders?

    There are currently instructions for only 30 sets (https://legofortheblind.com/) so this could really open it up.

  5. Diogenes

    Dark Instructions

    I wonder how it works with the instructions printed on black - which is really helpful when using black bricks - eg my Crocodile Loco set.

    They should train it on the MOC instructions - some are absolutely terrible .

  6. Winkypop Silver badge
    Terminator

    2074 AD

    Dad, I’m bored!!

    Dad: Build your new Lego kit

    The AI house-bot has already finished building it!

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: 2074 AD

      2074 AD

      What's that Dad.

      Dad: That's Lego - its a toy from my youth.

      Didn't you have 3d printers in your day? I think I'll program mine to make the tools to make those silly little components.

  7. Antonius_Prime
    Coat

    Great if can help build IKEA, but...

    Can it provide the formless void without gravity but has air that seems to be the standard location to assemble them?

    Mine's the one with the ratchet screwdriver set missing the hex bit piece, cheers!

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