Teaching Robots About Physical Pain May Avoid Damage to Machines and Humans

Published by , May 30, 2016 2:38 am

(GizMag) Physical pain can have its benefits. It is how kids learn to be wary of hot surfaces and carpenters to hit nails on the head. Researchers are now adapting this exercise in self-learning to an artificial nervous system for robots, a tool they believe will better equip these machines to avoid damage and preserve their – and humankind’s – well-being.
Researchers Johannes Kuehn and Professor Sami Haddadin from Leibniz University of Hannover have developed a pain-reflex controller for a BioTac fingertip sensor fitted to a Kuka robotic arm. They built a nervous robot-tissue model that is based on human skin, which helps the system determine how much pain should be felt by the machine in response to differing levels of force. The pain signals are transmitted as repetitive spikes if enough force is applied, at which point the system sorts the data into either light, moderate or severe pain categories.

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