Robots Learning How Not to Hurt Humans - By Punching Them
2010 10 18
By Paul Marks | NewScientist.com
Isaac Asimov would probably have been horrified at the experiments under way in a robotics lab in Slovenia. There, a powerful robot has been hitting people over and over again in a bid to induce anything from mild to unbearable pain - in apparent defiance of the late sci-fi sage’s famed first law of robotics, which states that "a robot may not injure a human being".
Image: B.Povse, D. Koritnik, T Bajd, M Munih)
(Image: B.Povse, D. Koritnik, T Bajd, M Munih).
But the robo-battering is all in a good cause, insists Borut Povše, who has ethical approval for the work from the University of Ljubljana, where he conducted the research. He has persuaded six male colleagues to let a powerful industrial robot repeatedly strike them on the arm, to assess human-robot pain thresholds.
It’s not because he thinks the first law of robotics is too constraining to be of any practical use, but rather to help future robots adhere to the rule. "Even robots designed to Asimov’s laws can collide with people. We are trying to make sure that when they do, the collision is not too powerful," Povše says. "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."
Povše and his colleagues borrowed a small production-line robot made by Japanese technology firm Epson and normally used for assembling systems such as coffee vending machines. They programmed the robot arm to move towards a point in mid-air already occupied by a volunteer’s outstretched forearm, so the robot would push the human out of the way. Each volunteer was struck 18 times at different impact energies, with the robot arm fitted with one of two tools - one blunt and round, and one sharper.
The volunteers were then asked to judge, for each tool type, whether the collision was painless, or engendered mild, moderate, horrible or unbearable pain. Povše, who tried the system before his volunteers, says most judged the pain was in the mild to moderate range.
The team will continue their tests using an artificial human arm to model the physical effects of far more severe collisions. Ultimately, the idea is to cap the speed a robot should move at when it senses a nearby human, to avoid hurting them. Povše presented his work at the IEEE’s Systems, Man and Cybernetics conference in Istanbul, Turkey, this week.
"Determining the limits of pain during robot-human impacts this way will allow the design of robot motions that cannot exceed these limits," says Sami Haddadin of DLR, the German Aerospace Centre in Wessling, who also works on human-robot safety. Such work is crucial, he says, if robots are ever to work closely with people. Earlier this year, in a nerve-jangling demonstration, Haddadin put his own arm on the line to show how smart sensors could enable a knife-wielding kitchen robot to stop short of cutting him.
"It makes sense to study this. However, I would question using pain as an outcome measure," says Michael Liebschner, a biomechanics specialist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. "Pain is very subjective. Nobody cares if you have a stinging pain when a robot hits you - what you want to prevent is injury, because that’s when litigation starts."
Article from: newscientist.com
Video from: YouTube.com
Robot learns to shoot bow and arrow
Harvard awarded $10 million for robot bees video: 2009 (Video)
The real 2001: Scientists teach robots how to trick humans
’World’s first’ Arabic-speaking robot
Pregnant Robot Trains Students (Video)
First robot able to develop and show emotions is unveiled
World’s creepiest robot? Japanese inventor develops the bald, legless Telenoid
Isaac Asimov (1920- 1992 R.I.P.) (Video)
Eerie female robot learns to ’sing’ by copying human singer
Latest News from our Front Page
Sand Pirates: ISIS Are America’s 21st Century Terrorist Privateers
2014 11 01
What is ISIS? If you believe govt and corporate propaganda, you still think that ISIS is a grassroots Islamic ideological movement ¨C and with no connection to intelligence agencies like AmericaˇŻs CIA, BritainˇŻs MI6, Turkish (NATO) intelligence, Saudi intelligence, Israeli intelligence, or PakistanˇŻs ISI.
The reality of ISIS is something altogether differentˇ
On closer inspection, these marauding paramilitary ISIS gangs are nothing ...
Ancient Stone Circles in Mideast Baffle Archaeologists
2014 11 01
Huge stone circles in the Middle East have been imaged from above, revealing details of structures that have been shrouded in mystery for decades.
The Big Circle called J1 is about 390 meters (1,280 feet) in diameter, with an open area created by bulldozing in its interior.
Credit: David L. Kennedy, copyright is retained by the Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology ...
Sweden Recognizes Palestinian State; Israel Upset
2014 10 31
Sweden on Thursday became the biggest Western European country to recognize a Palestinian state, prompting a strong protest from Israel, which swiftly withdrew its ambassador from Stockholm.
The move by Sweden’s new left-leaning government reflects growing international impatience with Israel’s nearly half-century control of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip. It also comes during increased ...
Fed-Backed Study: How to Brainwash Public into Fearing “Climate Change” Like Ebola
2014 10 31
$84K study seeks ways to make public fear "climate change and overpopulation"
The National Science Foundation is funding a study to determine how to brainwash the public into fearing “climate change and overpopulation” as if they were Ebola.
The NSF awarded an $84,000 grant to researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo yesterday to figure out how to make ...
Brain decoder can eavesdrop on your inner voice
2014 10 31
As you read this, your neurons are firing – that brain activity can now be decoded to reveal the silent words in your head
TALKING to yourself used to be a strictly private pastime. That’s no longer the case – researchers have eavesdropped on our internal monologue for the first time. The achievement is a step towards helping people who cannot ...
|More News » |