Homes of the future are often depicted as efficient spaces in which robots are programmed to carry out mundane domestic tasks, from cleaning to carrying out simple repairs or even preparing dinner.


But films like I, Robot, have imagined a world in which man-made machines programmed to serve humans turn against their creators – and a group of scientists has said this could happen.

German researchers have warned that robots in the home could prove dangerous – particularly when armed with sharp objects.

To discover what would happen if a robot wielding a sharp tool – such as a knife or a screw driver – accidentally struck a person, researchers at the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics, part of the national aerospace agency in Wessling, south-east Germany, programmed a mechanical arm holding a variety of instruments to strike a series of substances that mimicked human tissue.

The robot stabbed and punctured a lump of silicone, a pig’s leg and even a brave human volunteer’s arm – causing damage that could potentially be lethal, according to the scientists.

So the team designed a prototype collision detection system which, they said, significantly reduced injuries.

The safety system uses sensors to detect when it has hit a new substance so it will stop movement.

While previous studies have examined the dangers of collisions with large robots, this is believed to be the first to examine the dangers of slashing injuries.

Sami Haddadin, Alin Albu-Schaffer and Gerd Hirzinger presented their findings on Thursday at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Anchorage, Alaska.

Via Telegraph