The BBC published an article last Friday subtitled “A future in which robots help around the home could prove harmful to humans, suggests a study.” Oh really? Under what circumstances?
The tests involved a robot arm weighing 14kg and a 1.1m reach that was equipped with a variety of bladed household tools including a steak knife, kitchen knife, scissors and screwdriver.
The robot arm was programmed to use the bladed tools to stab and cut a silicone lump, a leg from a dead pig and the arm of a human volunteer.
Striking, stabbing and puncturing tests with the safety system turned off were performed on the silicone and pig leg. Deep cuts resulted in most cases that, the researchers said, could prove to be “lethal” if inflicted on a living subject.
I was unable to find a link to the research itself, which was apparently presented at the 2010 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, but here is a video showing how a safety protocol preventing the robots from colliding with other objects could help to minimize the risk of horrible injuries from robots programmed to stab things.
Awesome. Hey, I wonder if not programming robots to stab things might be another way to do that? Just a thought, though. Don’t mind me, pioneering robotics researchers.