Under light pain, the robot experiences mild discomfort and retracts until the contact is over. The robot retracts quicker and at a greater distance under moderate pain and goes into a passive mode under severe pain, which improves the safety of the robot.

Researchers presented their work at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Stockholm. It builds on previous research, where scientists built a robot arm that avoided collisions with people.

While the robot avoided collisions with people, it didn’t do so for its own safety. Researchers suggests the robot’s ability to feel pain is important, not only to protect itself, but for human safety as well, particularly those who work in close proximity with robots.

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