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 ")

China Deploys Robot Traffic Police
'The robot came up smooth and fast as a rocket...' - Harry Harrison, 1958.

Unusual Twist On Woman Dates Robot
'My hearing, vision and awareness went along with that excellent imitation of a young Adonis...' - Manly Wade Wellman, 1938.

Blood Battery Robotic Fish
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'- Michael Swanwick, 2002.

Bee+ Robobee Now With Four Wings
'It was a tiny thing, scarcely more than an inch and a half in length...' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1936.

 

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

China Deploys Robot Traffic Police
'The robot came up smooth and fast as a rocket...'

Better Than Dune Chromoplastic? This Guy Might Have Done It
'But when Old Father Sun departs, the chromoplastic reverts to transparency in the dark.'

Gather, An AI Warehouse Inventory Drone Startup
'It extended three of its tiny arms sideways to lock onto the registration pins...'

China's Artificial Intelligence-Enhanced Education
'The grey gas not only cut off his vision, but also his other senses...'

Orbital Manufacturer 'Made in Space' Gets $73 Million NASA Contract
'Mass-produced in the orbiting factories...'

Soli Gesture Tech Will Be In Google Pixel 4
'I enjoy watching this way, but - He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'

Uber Eats Pairs Cars With Drones
Fresh grub? Let's hope they aren't delivering grubs.

Space-Based Solar Power Roundup
SF writers popularized and elaborated on this idea a generation before the first patents were filed.

Lost Language Meanings Found By Machine Learning
'The autopilot would need data before it could begin a translation...'

'Aerogel' Sheets For Martian Gardens
'Sealed to the ground along all the sides, Honey, he growled...'

France's 'Red Team' Of Science Fiction Authors
'They're the only experts we have.'

Dim The Sun With Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment
'Those twin volcanoes; d'ye see them, Mr. Renner?'

Mashambas Skyscraper Farm Design Wins
'...a towering eighty-story structure like the office In-and Out baskets stacked up to the sky.'

Self-Driving Tractors From China Plan Ahead
'Machines that seemingly with full consciousness walked out into the fields to do their daily work.'

Jet-Powered Hoverboard Works!
L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace!

Nobe 3-Wheel Electric Vehicle Parking Like I, Robot
Spidercar, Spidercar, does whatever a spidercar does.

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.