A few sites picked up on a humanoid robot called Justin (pictured left) today.
It is equipped with two robotic arms, jointly developed by the University of Napoli and the German Space Agency, DLR under a European project called Physical Human-Robot Interaction: Dependability and Safety.
They're the same arms I wrote about a few weeks back, in an article focusing on their ability to know whether they have hit you. The arm's force and position sensors, in its joints, offer an analogue to our kinaesthetic sense - the way we use feedback from our muscles and tendons to know where our limbs are without looking. A paper outlining the research can be found here.
The arm's ability to do this may see it become safe enough to work alongside humans in factories, instead of segregating human and robot workforces. DLR researchers have even performed crash tests using themselves as test dummies.
The same capabilities allow Justin to perform some neat tricks. In the video embedded below (also at this link) he uses his joint sensors to maintain a model of his body. When the researchers try to make him hit his own face or body, he knows exactly what's happening and refuses to do it.
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