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Have You Seen This? The robot knife game
The guy in this video doesn't put his life in the hands of this robot, but he does put five of his fingers on the line. - photo by John Clyde

SKYNET As a kid I always wanted to be super hardcore. Afraid of nothing. Willing to try anything. But in reality, I was none of those things.

I wasn't hardcore considering I had to sleep with a light on until I was about 13. I was afraid of plenty, including bears, my neighbor's dog Joe Joe (he was about 2 pounds of frail puppy), and my parents' basement. And I would not try anything. Don't even ask me how long it took me to jump off the high dive at Alta Canyon Rec Center. I mean, it was about 15-feet tall after all.

Even though I was a coward, there is one thing I decided to try once because I thought my hand-eye coordination was on point. I mean, I was pretty good at Street Fighter II, when I played the computer on the easiest level. Actually I wasn't any good, but I still had confidence.

So, once I got a plastic knife we used at a Fourth of July barbecue and played five-finger fillet. That's when you spread your fingers wide in a table and stab a knife between your fingers as fast as you can. I attempted this and I soon realized I did not have the hand-eye coordination I thought I did. I'm grateful it was a plastic knife, but I still had some bloody spots on my digits afterward.

That was a long intro to this video of some smart people who created code for this robot, the Staubli TX40. The guy in the video puts his hand on the board and lets the robot play this game with a real knife. My heart was pumping watching the video, even more than when I was playing it for real with the plastic cutlery.

At this point I don't know if I'm more impressed with the robot or the steadiness of that man's hand. I'm pretty sure I would have moved and panicked, causing more damage than I needed to.

Don't try this at home with any kind of utensil like I did, but if you've got a Staubli TX40 and a smart programmer around, I say go for it.
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