Robots are Being Taught to Feel Pain


A robot is a machine that is designed to assassinate one more tasks repeatedly in precise and efficient manner. There are different types of robots, having different functionalities, to perform a variety of tasks. The human operator can control a robot, but mostly controlled by computer and usually fall into two type of categories, autonomous robots, and insect robots.

The autonomous robots can work as a stand-alone system, as they are completely controlled by their processing unit, while a single controller controls insect robots. Insect robots work in a formation ranging from a few to thousand in numbers but all these formation’s controlled by a single controller. As with the passage of time technology changes, advancement brought in every field of life, so the working patterns of robots also changed according to the present need.

Robots are being taught to feel pain

Researchers are trying to develop a system, to teach robots how to sense the pain. The most important thing about robots is that ‘they do not sense pain’. It means that there is no problem, in putting robots into nasty environments, or to perform those tasks that are risky for humans like diffusing bombs, etc.

The researchers from the Leibniz University of Hanover are working on “artificial nervous system of robots”.  They are trying to develop a system that helps robots to feel pain. By using such system, robots can get an instant response to pain, to avoid further damage to their parts. The researchers argued that the “artificial nervous system of robots” can make robots safer. They said that due to this system, while robots using heavy machinery human can easily work with them.

One of the researcher, Johannes Kuehn working on the system, said that enabling robots by such system to sense and react towards pain could help to minimize the damage in the same way as humans sense the problem and protect themselves.

For example, a robot arm stuck in a piece of machinery than by understanding the “painful” sensation make it possible for the robots to remove itself in the same way as the humans pull their hand away from sharp objects. Kuehn at IEEE Spectrum tells that “pain is a system that protects us.” In future, more robots can work alongside with humans and prevent dangerous accidents by making minor changes in robotics devices.

Johannes Kuehn and his colleague, Sami Haddadin, developed a reflex controller mock-up with a palpable fingertip sensor that can sense the variation of temperature and pressure. The model is based on the concept that, the way human can realize the pain. The model contains a “nervous robot-tissue model galvanized by human skin structure”. If the force is applied on the sensor excess then the specific limit then the system sends reiteration alerts to the robot nervous system in the same way as the human impulses transmit signals to the brain. If the sensor squeezed or pressed then, robot arm would leap out the way as humans do if too much pressure is applied on a fingertip. The concept about the feel of pain is in its early stages, but with the passage of time that technology become an essential part, as robots play significant role in our lives.