Robot Beats Up Volunteers

Researchers actually trying to create robots incapable of harming humans

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 14, 2010 8:25 AM CDT
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(Newser) – Six Slovenian volunteers have been getting beaten up by a robot in the name of science. The men have been punched repeatedly in the arm at different strengths by said robot and rating the resulting sensation on a scale that ranges from "painless" to "unbearable." The robotic lab's chief researcher says the experiment is actually designed to help future robots adhere to Isaac Asimov's first law of robotics, which states that "a robot may not injure a human being."

Experts say this kind of research is essential if humans and robots are to work together safely, with no risk of injury from collisions. "We are taking the first steps to defining the limits of the speed and acceleration of robots, and the ideal size and shape of the tools they use, so they can safely interact with humans," the Slovenian researcher tells Scientific American.

The team plans to use a robotic arm to test more severe impacts.
The team plans to use a robotic arm to test more severe impacts.   (Shutter Stock)
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Determining the limits of pain during robot-human impacts this way will allow the design of robot motions that cannot exceed these limits. - Sami Haddadin, an expert on human-robot safety at the German Aerospace Centre

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