Robot Designed To Break First Law - In Order To Save It

Researcher Sami Haddadin designed and programmed a robot to punch him right in the face. When that wears thin, the robot is free to punch him in the arm, the stomach and the chest.


(Sami Haddadin punched by his own robot)

As science fiction fans know, Isaac Asimov (in collaboration with John W. Campbell) created and popularized the idea of "laws of robotics" in his robot fiction of the early 1940's. The First Law of Robotics states that "A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm."

Haddadin is not some sort of rogue roboticist. He is part of a team at the German Aerospace Centre Space Agency; their task is to figure out ways for robots and humans to share the same work space. And to do that, robots need to be able to sense when they have contacted a human being.

Haddadin has given his robot a kinaesthetic sense similar to the ability that humans possess. A person has stretch receptors in their muscles and joints that provide information to the brain when a muscular movement has been unexpectedly interrupted.

Haddadin embedded torque sensors in each of the six joints of the robot. The sensors consist of metal foil devices that change their electrical resistance when under tension in a given direction. They provide constant feedback to the robot on the direction and magnitude of forces.

That's when the punching began. He equipped the robot arm with a padded end-piece (sort of like a boxing glove) to cushion the blows, which came at speeds of up to eight feet per second.

As soon as the robot was able to sense that its arm no longer had free movement (that is, it contacted Haddadin's body), it stopped the movement immediately. The robot pulls its punches, and can be pushed away with only a minimum amount of pressure on the end-piece.

The robot is also sensitive to unexpected touches; a human co-worker could push the robot away to prevent a collision. The robot accepts this as a kind of guidance from co-workers.

The robot is also able to determine when it has bumped into a person. It is able to respond to this with a gentle push that signals "please get out of my way" to the human co-worker.

A commercial version of the robot arm will be launched next year by Kuka Roboter of Augsburg, Germany.

Via EurekAlert.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/9/2007)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Flying Dragon Robot Transforms In Mid-Air
Terrific prototype video.

MXene Hydrogel Skin For Robots Flexes And Senses
'The plastex swam and whirled like boiling toothpaste...' - JG Ballard, 1962.

Drywall Robot Looking For Sheetrock
Sheetrockers have sure changed since my day. Speaking as someone who as done this, I welcome robots.

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
How about mashed potatoes and brown gravy?

Driverless Hotel Rooms Predicted In 1828
'Did you never see a moving house before?'

Yandex Self-Driving Taxi Is Very Smooth
'The big car was slowing down, its computer brain sensing an exit ahead.'

Shrimp Actually Made Of Algae Is A New Wave Food
Bring in that crop algae.

Cosplay Style Wings Could Work On Moon
'They're lovely! - titanalloy struts as light and strong as bird-bones...'

Tesla Model 3 Has Outside Speaker Grille
Robert Heinlein does it again.

Arizona Luddites Attack Self-Driving Vehicles
'Trucks don't drive by themselves...' Or do they?

Organaut! Russians 3D Print Living Tissue In Space
'For a while your colonists will have to come up [to orbit] to the Hospital...'

WINE Spacecraft To Extract Water From Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Japanese Swordsmiths Take On Asteroids
'... a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk.'

Saturn's Rings To Vanish, Let's Mine Them While We Can
'...the valuable shards of what had once been satellites.'

Humans Could Take Up A LOT Less Space
We'd have a lot more room for gardening...

Implosion Fabrication Shrinks 3D Objects To Nanoscale
'Carter had watched miniaturization a hundred times...'

GMO Houseplant Cleans Your Air
Removes compounds too small to be captured by a HEPA filter.

Nova Meat Can 3D Print Your Dinner
Printing out chicken nuggets.

MIT Scientists Create 'Peek-a-Boo Prober' From Jetsons
Well, George, it's the latest thing.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.