Robot's singular job: Cutting flesh from pig bone

Sure, we've got robots programmed to make cars, vacuum our floors, and even make sweet, sweet love, and on some level I'm frightened of all of them. But there's a new beasty that will haunt my dreams tonight: the multijoint pork de-boning robot.

It's an articulated arm with a razor-sharp knife at the end. It's called the HAMDAS-R, and it's made by Japan's Mayekawa Electric. The thing is programmed with one purpose: separating pork flesh from thigh bone, a task that's supposed to be tough for humans.

It just won the top prize in the small business and venture category at the 4th Robot Awards sponsored by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.

This HAMDAS-R system has achieved a higher yield of deboned pork than skilled workers do, according to Mayekawa. It's smart enough to change its instructions on-the-fly to account for different meat forms and bone sizes, which means it autonomously learns the best way to cut up formerly living things. That means it could very easily make work of a human, like me, even if it's never been programmed to. See why I'm so scared? … Read more

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Listen now: Download today's podcast Subscribe now: iTunes (audio) | iTunes (video) | RSS (audio) | RSS (video) EPISODE 1008

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Veteran 404 guest Caroline McCarthy of News.com makes a guest appearance on today's borderline indecent show. We touch on Hello Kitty fetishism, Pork and Beans, Reggie Love, the perils of softcore Youtube porn, and our secret pickup tactics. This episode is rated R, recommended for adults and pubescent adolescents alike. EPISODE 108 Download today's podcast