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And yet, a pair of German researchers believes that, in some cases, feeling and reacting to pain might be a good capability for robots to have. Why is it a good idea for robots to feel pain?

Can Robots Feel Your Pain? | Greater Good

In order to tackle this demanding requirement, the human antetype shall serve as our inspiration, meaning that human pain-reflex movements are used for designing according robot pain sensation models and reaction controls. We focus on the formalization of robot pain, based on insights from human pain research, as an interpretation of tactile sensation. This video shows a prototype of the controller running on a Kuka arm equipped with a BioTac tactile fingertip sensor it can sense pressure and also temperature.

Just like human neurons, the model transmits pain information in repetitive spikes if the force exceeds a certain threshold, and the pain controller reacts after classifying the information into light, moderate, or severe pain. But our innate ability to feel pain, and to instinctively pull away from the very thing that is causing us that pain, is what protects us from further injury.

But can this ability to feel pain be something that could protect robots as well? During the experiments, the robot arm then underwent physical and simulated collisions to test its responses. Of course, pain is subjective and not easy to define. We focus on the formalization of robot pain, based on insights from human pain research, as an interpretation of tactile sensation. Then, it may move back.

Why Robots Need to Feel Pain

In order to prevent making the damage worse, the robot switches to gravity compensation with additional damping for dissipation, improving the safety of the robot and the environment by its strictly passive behavior. Do you also want to be notified of the following?

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