Boffinry breakthrough: Bullied bumble bot bolts brutal brat beatdowns

Merciful engineers teach robots to escape beatings from tyrannical tykes

Vid Researchers in Japan have programmed a robot to flee children after groups of tearaways were recorded abusing the 'droid.

A study by Japan's ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories found that kids, particularly when left unsupervised, will bully, harass, and sometimes even attack robots.

As noted by IEEE Spectrum, the Japanese eggheads put the youngsters in a room with a moving robot. When a child blocked the robot's path, the unit would politely ask the child to move aside.

Rather than make way, however, the researchers found that the children would deliberately obstruct the robot. In some cases, the kids even began shouting at the robot, and hitting or kicking it.

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To help the robot avoid a lifetime of torment at the hands of unruly munchkins, the researchers programmed the unit to calculate an "abuse probability" based on the size of nearby humans (the bot avoids anyone under 4ft 6in) and the number of people in its vicinity.

When the robot spotted an unaccompanied child, it would calculate the chances of robocide and, if necessary, subtly adjust its course. Should the robot decide the child would likely become a bully, it can drive itself away from the child or find a nearby adult to follow closely, in hopes that the presence of the grownup will keep the youths in line.

While scientific and cinematic minds alike have worried over the possibility of killer robots turning on mankind, recent history has shown that it's the robots who should be afraid of violence at the hands of sadistic meatbags.

If innocent robots aren't being bullied in Japan, they're getting brutally dismembered on the streets of Philadelphia, as was the recent case with hitchBot, a Canadian robot that was attempting to hitchhike its way across the US when it was destroyed by an unknown assailant. ®

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