I kid in the headline, but this is actually some important work. Robots are in our lives more and more, whether it be a floorbot, auto-manufacturing bot, or packbot. They’re designed to work around humans, but there are a lot of things to look into in order to make sure these bots don’t accidentally harm someone in the process of doing their job.
One of the things that needs looking into is how fast robots should move. You’ve seen the videos of high-speed robo-arms playing baseball or making ramen — you wouldn’t want to work around those guys; movement a few inches too far could seriously injure someone. So researchers are looking at how hard a robot can hit you before it starts to hurt.
The robot (repurposed from Epson) whacks volunteers on the arm with various objects, with various speeds and forces. The volunteer rates the pain caused — but don’t worry, they’re only testing up to “moderate”; these poor college kids aren’t being savagely beaten.
It’s all going on at the University of Ljubljana. But I can hear the screams from here.