The idea of a robot in the kitchen cooking us meals sounds great. We better just watch out for that swinging knife.
To find out what would happen if a robot handling a sharp tool accidentally struck a person, German researchers set out to perform a series of stabbing, puncturing, and cutting experiments.
The main goal of the study was to understand the biomechanics of soft-tissue injury caused by a knife-wielding robot. But the researchers also wanted to design and test a collision-detection system that could prevent or at least minimize injury. Apparently the system worked so well that in some cases the researchers were willing to try it on human subjects.
IEEE Spectrum reports on this research in an article titled, Robots With Knives: A Study of Soft-Tissue Injury in Robotics.