Skip to main content

Chess robot breaks seven-year-old’s finger during tournament in Russia

2020 China International Industry Fair
A stock photo of a chess-playing robot in Shanghai — unconnected to this incident. | Photo by Gao Yuwen/VCG via Getty Images

A chess robot broke the finger of a seven-year-old boy playing in a tournament in Russia, according to reports from local news outlets (seen via The Guardian).

The incident happened last week at the Moscow Chess Open, where the robot was hired to play competitors. Video of the incident (below) shows the machine is a standard industrial robot arm customized to move pieces on three chess boards simultaneously.

“The robot broke the child’s finger. This, of course, is bad,” Sergey Lazarev, President of the Moscow Chess Federation, told Russian news agency TASS (translation via Google Translate).

Said Lazarev: “The robot was rented by us, it has been exhibited in many places, for a long time, with specialists. Apparently, the operators overlooked it. The child made a move, and after that we need to give time for the robot to answer, but the boy hurried, the robot grabbed him. We have nothing to do with the robot.”

It’s not clear what explanation —if any — the robot’s creators have offered for this accident, but such incidents are not unusual in scenarios where robot engineers have failed to properly consider safety protocol around humans.

In most industrial environments, robots are essentially unseeing operators. They move along set paths at set times, and often lack sensors to recognize or respond to nearby humans. In other words: if you move into their path, they won’t know you’re there.

This sort of blind collision has been the cause of many robot fatalities. The first such incident is generally thought to have taken place in 1979, when Ford factory worker Robert Williams was crushed by a robot arm. The US Department of Labor logs these deaths, which tally roughly one fatality a year, though the statistics vary based on different companies’ definition of a robot. For example, is a conveyer belt a robot? Or a molding machine?

In the case of the chess robot, it seems the device was designed only to identify and move chess pieces — not respond to the appearance of a human hand in its playing area.

“There are certain safety rules and the child, apparently, violated them. When he made his move, he did not realize he first had to wait,” Sergey Smagin, vice-president of the Russian Chess Federation, told a Telegram-based news channel Baza, according to The Guardian.

However, it’s more accurate to say that the robot’s designers violated safety rules by creating a machine that could inadvertently hurt humans. A number of basic features could have prevented the accident — from placing a camera above the chess board that disables the robot’s movement if foreign objects appear in frame, to limiting the force that can be output by the robot’s arm.

Although footage of the incident is distressing, according to Lazarev the child was soon recovered enough to continue to play. “The child played the very next day, finished the tournament in a cast, and the volunteers helped to record the moves,” Lazarev told TASS. “The robot operators, apparently, will have to think about strengthening protection so that this situation does not happen again.”



Source: The Verge

Popular posts from this blog

The hidden cost of food delivery

Noah Lichtenstein Contributor Share on Twitter Noah Lichtenstein is the founder and managing partner of Crossover , a diversified private technology fund backed by institutional investors, technology execs and professional athletes and entertainers. More posts by this contributor What Studying Students Teaches Us About Great Apps I’ll admit it: When it comes to food, I’m lazy. There are dozens of great dining options within a few blocks of my home, yet I still end up ordering food through delivery apps four or five times per week. With the growing coronavirus pandemic closing restaurants and consumers self-isolating, it is likely we will see a spike in food delivery much like the 20% jump China reported during the peak of its crisis. With the food delivery sector rocketing toward a projected $365 billion by the end of the decade, I’m clearly not the only one turning to delivery apps even before the pandemic hit. Thanks to technology (and VC funding) we can get a ri

Cyber Monday Canada: Last-minute deals for everyone on your list

Best Cyber Monday Canada deals: Smart Home Audio Phones, Tablets & Accessories Wearables Laptops & PC Components Amazon products Gaming Televisions Cameras Lifestyle & Kitchen Toys & Kids Cyber Monday Canada is here, and retailers are rolling out the red carpet for customers who want to shop for everything from tech to kitchenware to games and everything in between. Unlike years past, Cyber Monday Canada deals look a bit different than normal. Instead of retailers trying to pack their stores with as many shoppers as possible, we're seeing tons of online deals that you can take advantage of from the comfort of your home. We've rounded up our favorites below, so feel free to browse through the best of what Canada Cyber Monday has to offer! This list is being updated with new Cyber Monday deals all the time, so check back often. Spotlight deals It's a Switch Nintendo Switch Fortnite Edition bundle $399.95 at Amazon It's a Switch.

Slack’s new integration deal with AWS could also be about tweaking Microsoft

Slack and Amazon announced a big integration late yesterday afternoon. As part of the deal, Slack will use Amazon Chime for its call feature, while reiterating its commitment to use AWS as its preferred cloud provider to run its infrastructure. At the same time, AWS has agreed to use Slack for internal communications. Make no mistake, this is a big deal as the SaaS communications tool increases its ties with AWS, but this agreement could also be about slighting Microsoft and its rival Teams product by making a deal with a cloud rival. In the past Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield has had choice words for Microsoft saying the Redmond technology giant sees his company as an “existential threat.” Whether that’s true or not — Teams is but one piece of a huge technology company — it’s impossible not to look at the deal in this context. Aligning more deeply with AWS sends a message to Microsoft, whose Azure infrastructure services compete with AWS. Butterfield didn’t say that of course

Peloton Reverses Course, Will Continue to Support Apple GymKit

Earlier this week, Peloton said that it would drop support for Apple's GymKit feature that syncs data to the Health app. Customers were unhappy with the decision and complained to the company, leading Peloton to announce a change in plans. Peloton on Thursday said that after listening to member feedback on GymKit, the integration will continue to be offered. Peloton wanted to stop offering GymKit integration in favor of the Peloton One-Tap tracking feature, but GymKit has been a key feature on the $2,500 Bike+ since its 2020 debut , and other Peloton machines since 2022. After listening to Members’ feedback about discontinuing Apple GymKit integration for Bike+, we have decided to continue offering Apple GymKit integration. As a Member-first company, we are always grateful to our Members for sharing their views. — Peloton (@onepeloton) February 16, 2024 The One-Tap tracking app does monitor distance, pace, and heart rate metrics, but only basic information is synced t