German Researchers Have a Study Which Can Be Summarized as What if Roberto The Knife Wielding Robot From Futurama Was Real

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The main goal of a study by Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics, part of DLR, the German aerospace agency, 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.
The TV Show Futurama had a knife wielding robot Roberto.

The tools the researchers tested included: (1) scalpel; (2) kitchen knife; (3) scissors; (4) steak knife; (5) screwdriver.

The researchers performed two types of experiments: stabbing and cutting, testing the different tools striking at various speeds, with and without the collision-detection system active.

In most cases, the contact resulted in deep cuts and punctures, with potentially lethal consequences. But remarkably, the collision-detection system, which relied on measurements from force-torque sensors on the robot’s body, was able to significantly reduce the depth of the cuts in several cases, and even prevent penetration altogether.

Roberto The Robot Info and Quotes

Futurama wiki entry for Roberto

Roberto is a psychotic/mentally ill robot who seems to have been built for the purpose of stabbing. He and Bender were old buddies before Roberto held up the Big Apple Bank.


“What the… You’re not made of Tuesday!”

“Well well, looks like old Roberto’s the focus of attention now. STOP LOOKING AT ME! Ha haa Ha Ha Ha HAAAaaa!”

Roberto – “I was designed by a team of engineers attempting to build an insane robot but it seems, they failed!”
Sick Vending Machine – “Um, actually -” [gets stabbed]

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