Pain is one of the important feeling or emotion which alerts about the danger in a human body. Even computers give warnings by some sound or flash signal in case of any mishap or error. But they can’t instantly back away from that work or danger. This is one of the main things which separate humans from Robots. This difference makes them work even in extremely severe conditions.
Now recent ameliorations in the technology are making this gap lessen even more. During the recent IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) two researchers named Johannes Kuehn and Sami Haddadin from Leibniz University in Hannover presented an idea for generating robot pain reactions.
They have taken the concept of the reflex-controller from the functioning of the living creatures and which can be applied to the industrial robots.
This same approach was used by the researchers at Stanford University for teaching the industrial robots not to hurt social workers who were around them.
They also developed a hierarchy on pain and involved vocabulary of experiences for the better understanding of the Robot. They classified pain into different categories like light pain, moderate pain and Severe pain.
An experiment is also done using a Robot Arm, which has a BioTac tactile sensor where the arm reacts instantly depending on the severity of pain. It shows the reaction of the Robot’s Arm while experiencing all the three categories of suffering.
The demo also shows how the sensitivity of Robot’s Arm is working on constant contacts and the spontaneous reaction of backing up when came in contact with a hot object.
According to the paper submitted by the duo Johannes Kuehn and Sami Haddadin, “The severe the pain -faster the robot will retract. The stronger the “feeling,” the farther it backs away and the longer it stays there.
In the case of a Severe pain, where damage level is pretty high, that would completely disable the robot or the things around it. In this situation, the Robot will turn into a still mode waiting for external help. In this way, the Robot would protect itself from causing further damage in the case of a disastrous event which would eventually save money for repairs.