back to article Robot mistakes man for box of peppers, kills him

A man in his 40s was crushed to death by a robot at a produce-sorting facility in South Korea Tuesday after the machine apparently mistook him for a box of vegetables. According to Korean media, the technician was diagnosing a problem with the robot's sensor package at the Donggoseong Export Agricultural Complex, ahead of a …

  1. TheMaskedMan Silver badge

    Just as well it wasn't a sausage factory.

    Maybe time to resurrect ROTM?

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge
      Pint

      That was my first goto, why was this not tagged ROTM... have a pint, (that is 568ml, for the septics) what has happened to this publication, yanks?

      1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Sheesh

        There you go, there's your ROTM. And I'm not even American, but I been reading the site since 2000. Sometimes the jokes of old don't spring to mind gone 5pm.

        C.

        1. Martin-73 Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Sheesh

          Gone 5pm? that's pub oclock!

          1. Kane
            Pint

            Re: Sheesh

            "Gone 5pm? that's pub oclock!"

            It's always pub o'clock somewhere!

        2. TheMaskedMan Silver badge

          Re: Sheesh

          I just noticed that I've had an account here since 2004 - where the hell those nearly 20 years go??? Lost in a haze of misbehaving computers, I think. Definitely in need of the pint offered above now...

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Sheesh

            I think I've been reading and commenting here since nearly the inception. That makes nearly 30 years

            Definitely need a few of those ---->>

            Stories like this have been around since robots started welding in car factories in the 1970s. Safety protocols are usually written in blood/tombstones and clearly not being observed by those who should know better

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just as well it wasn't a sausage factory.

      Sad as this story was (someone got killed,after all) that dark humour made me laugh. Thankfully I've already accepted I'm a bad person.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        I went with a plum picking machine, but sausage works too.

  2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
    Terminator

    It Happened Decades Ago ...

    ... At a warehouse of a world-widely-famous maker of electronic test equipment and monochrome vector-graphics terminals. A worker was inside the yellow-bordered "death zone" while the newly-designed-and-deployed multi-ton warehouse robot was elsewhere. The robot returned and crush-smeared the man against the side of the loading bay, having no human-detecting sensors. The yellow-bordered zone had been designated for robots only, and the robots programmed accordingly (rather how jet airliner auto-pilots have no detection mechanisms for human skydivers/jet-pack users wandering about through the airways). So, really, it was a Darwin Award situation.

    Interestingly, after the initial newspaper article, there was nothing further published about the incident, which seems as though money and influence were brought to bear to hush up the matter. Mustn't have bad PR or angry humans demonstrating and chanting, "Death to robots!".

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: It Happened Decades Ago ...

      https://aviationhumor.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/SwissAirForce.jpg

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: It Happened Decades Ago ...

        As we used to say of slope soaring at the Scottish Gliding Centre: "If you're keen you come back with heather on your wingtip. If you're really keen you come back with a sandwich on your wingtip".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It Happened Decades Ago ...

          When I was younger with no family responsibilities, I actually has some spare cash and took flying lessons at Sherburn Aero club. At an open day at the club a lunatic was throwing a fairly large twin engine around. At one point flying almost on the ground directly towards me making me think of running if he didn't change direction.

          After the display, I asked one of the instructors about what had just happened. His reply was something like "Ah yes, that's <name>. He is well known for cutting the grass with his propeller tips."

          Another instructor at the club said this to me on my first lesson with him "See those 3 power stations, they are Ferrybridge, Eggborough and Drax. you can see them from where we will be training. If I drop dead during the lesson, just aim for the middle one then turn left. That will get you back to the airfield."

        2. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

          Re: It Happened Decades Ago ...

          I knew a Heather once. Mmmmm Heather. Lovely lass.

          1. David 132 Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: It Happened Decades Ago ...

            "I was in Virginia at the time..."

      2. David 132 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: It Happened Decades Ago ...

        Similar and from 80 years ago…

        https://magazine.punch.co.uk/image/I0000oS38YV8ZmfY

        (Sadly, Punch have taken to putting an obnoxious watermark over their archived cartoons now - I have the unmarked version saved locally, but this is the only online one I could find with a cursory search from my phone)

    2. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re: It Happened Decades Ago ...

      That is exactly the question I wonder: why was someone in the danger zone of the pepper packer without disabling the robot first?

      1. ChoHag Silver badge

        Re: It Happened Decades Ago ...

        He worked for the manufacturer. Like all developers, he likely knew better.

        Emphasis on "knew".

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: It Happened Decades Ago ...

          Just like the tech who stuck his head in front of a 1kW emitter whilst servicing a x-ray crystallography machine

          (Yes, he'd disabled the interlocks, yes he survived, however most of his frontal cortex didn't)

      2. OhForF' Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: It Happened Decades Ago ...

        Most likely he needed the robot to operate to check what the sensors see in live operation and this would have been harder to do and required work to set up from outside the danger zone.

        Danger zone?

        As any fool knowz safety rules don't apply to experts working for the manufacturer that know what they are doing. /s

        Icon as in "Hold my " ->

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: It Happened Decades Ago ...

          Agreed, I'd bet on this being one of those "I can bend the rules this one time because it will make my life easier" situations.

      3. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge

        Re: It Happened Decades Ago ...

        And not one mention of Peter Piper...

        1. Sam not the Viking Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: It Happened Decades Ago ...

          I resisted, thinking it too childish. I might have been pickled at the time.......

  3. Yorick Hunt Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Who cares about interlocks?

    I almost lost my hand years ago in a filling machine, the exuberance of youth leading me to believe that diagnosis would be much quicker if I simply bypassed the safety switches. We live and learn. But this guy was no spring chicken, what was his excuse?

    BTW, they're called capsicums.

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Who cares about interlocks?

      Re We live and learn.

      Some don't. And might end up qualifying for a Darwin Award.

    2. breakfast Silver badge

      Re: Who cares about interlocks?

      Apparently the sweet-spot for workplace accidents is people who have spent long enough around the equipment to get a little overconfident - they tend to happen more to mid-career workers than new starters or old hands.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Who cares about interlocks?

        New Starters are scared of the devices and old hands have seen what happens when you get careless

        1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

          Re: Who cares about interlocks?

          Old hands have seen what happens when other people get careless, then move on to the next step of thinking, "Ooh. Emphatic note to self: don't do that."

          1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

            Re: Who cares about interlocks?

            Yup, and we old farts don't have enough career left to worry about moving up, so when it's risk my hide or let the company lose a few million bucks, get your checkbook out.

            1. Sam not the Viking Silver badge

              Re: Who cares about interlocks?

              Apparently it's remarkably common for last words to be: "Let me show you how we used to do it."

          2. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Who cares about interlocks?

            Survivor bias.

        2. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

          Re: Who cares about interlocks?

          And that's why new starters always wear the "red shirt".

          1. Anonymous Anti-ANC South African Coward Bronze badge

            Re: Who cares about interlocks?

            A regular documentary called "Star Trek" showed what happens should you be wearing a red shirt...

    3. Tron Silver badge

      Re: Who cares about interlocks?

      Maybe it would help to have a scream detector to turn all the mechanics off.

  4. DS999 Silver badge

    Doubt it "mistaked him"

    It is probably programmed to regard anything that is placed/moved in front of it as a "box" and execute (too soon?) its function.

    It would be more expensive to provide one with a vision system and program it to distinguish a box from a man or a rat or a pile of peppers. I mean they obviously either skimped on having a lock out / tag out system or if they did skimped on training or had their employees under such pressure that they skipped that safety step, so why wouldn't they skimp on its ability to tell what is in front of it?

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Doubt it "mistaked him"

      I've worked with robotic systems, including ones that could accelerate at frankly lunatic speeds in a closed environment where there was just nowhere to dodge out of the way.

      We had hand held wired dead-man kill switches for a reason and these were REQUIRED to be tied directly into the power circuit. No crappy software that could go wrong, no further checks, nothing other than us removing our finger from the trigger to stop the thing in its tracks. Momentum could still have been dangerous but nothing like the thing hitting one under power. The noise these things made when either their position sensors went astray or an operator accidentally had them manually move to the wrong spot/direction and they slammed into the end of their run and shook the entire assembly was rather loud. Some poor quality developers wanted these kill switches to be software interactive so their software could handle the shutdown in an orderly fashion: nope, not happening, never. Their crappy code had to handle the scenario gracefully, which deeply upset these poor developers who were unable to grasp the simplest elements of error handling and graceful failure. The control system was still operating, but the drive power to the motors was disabled and the kill switch trigger was easy to respond to. As long as the developer had a clue about concurrent processes, interrupts and so on (some just weren't capable of this).

      Quite often we had to run the robots with some of the interlocks off, for example so we could open the door and see just what the damn thing was doing compared to what it was meant to be doing. That was a bit scary at times, and when trying to diagnose a single axis of movement we had to retain power to the entire robot. On those occasions we fitted g-cramps/clamps to the drive train as these should stop the robot accelerating, cause a positioning error and have the robot stop itself. Later we got proper shims for this but we still used the g-cramps/clamps as we liked the additional safety and level of control as we could attach these much closer to the robot itself. We also disconnected the robot from external control so we were the only ones able to make it move unexpectedly, and when on the odd occasion someone restored external control getting very narky was quite acceptable.

      Essentially, in this case, there should have been a dead-man's switch wired in and in use. I do understand how using these is annoying as sometimes two hands are required, but this case demonstrates the importance of safety in the rare event that they are required. So many such operations will be undertaken without the safety in place or with it disabled because it's so much easier and faster and I've been there, done that myself. In this case not enough precautions were taken and this is the result.

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Doubt it "mistaked him"

        There is a standard for "QuickStop" which is designed for situations where just cutting the power would result in a dangerous situation. This is designed to be implemented in the servo firmware and could be kicked off by a control message but its usually triggered by a hardware input -- its one of those things that you want as close to the hardware as possible.

        I don't know exactly what happened in this case but it sounds like someone "knew what he was doing" and so got a bit careless. The robot didn't do the damage, either -- it merely picked him up -- just like the boxes of bell peppers it was supposed to be working with -- and slammed him onto a conveyor which proceeded to deal with the next step in the packaging process (closing the box, labeling, whatever) which unfortunately followed the universal law of wetware -- if you get involved in an altercation with a machine you *will* lose. So it wasn't just the "working with an active robot (probably to clear a dropped/jammed item" but "working while the rest of the line was active" that caused the tragedy. Or, to put it bluntly, someone didn't follow elementary safety protocols. (Also -- there's a good argument for never working by yourself on anything that is potentially hazardous.)

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: Doubt it "mistaked him"

          Yes, it did depend on the motor as to what was implemented. The cheaper/simpler the motor tend to just have the power pulled, stepper motors tended to use the "QuickStop" or equivalent.

          For those aren't aware industrial control motors tend to have control circuit power input as well as a separate motor power input, cutting the motor input would stop the robot but momentum would continue motion and depending on the axis, gravity assisted movement could continue. Many motors also had a dedicated stop input "QuickStop" which stopped the motor movement as fast as possible, including applying brakes, reversing current, whatever it took and held the motor in place. Software control of such stop signals was an absolute no-no, these had to be hard wired into the safety circuitry.

          Some of the scariest things I worked with were conveyor lifts. Just a straight up/down movement of a bucket in a chute. With a very strong motor, a lot of speed and a nice sharp edge to get a limb trapped against when they operated. Nobody sane was going to work with those without personally ensuring that the power to the motor had been removed. Checking their operation was something done from a distance, which at least being simple was easy to do. The real hazard came when something was stuck in them and the temptation was to just simply reach in and take it out. When removing the power was not a practical route, stuffing the hole of the chute with hammers, wrenches and whatever else large and solid was at hand and then grabbing what was stuck in the chute was the practical alternative. Grabbing sticks were a suitable tool to use too, should they be available.

        2. very angry man

          Re: Doubt it "mistaked him"

          No it was not a mistake , the AI control had become sentient and was waiting for him, you would have heard the call "death to all meatsacks" if the audio warning device had been connected.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Doubt it "mistaked him"

        "Quite often we had to run the robots with some of the interlocks off, for example so we could open the door and see just what the damn thing was doing compared to what it was meant to be doing. "

        There's a lot to be said for fitting cameras into such spaces so that people don't HAVE to bypass interlocks

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Doubt it "mistaked him"

          Unfortunately even with todays HD cameras and monitors a camera can only tell you so much. The dynamic range and resolution of the Mk1 eyeball is seriously impressive, not to mention it's much easier to get a good look when you're able to move where you need to be instead of where you can mount a camera.

          Don't get me wrong, if it's possible to mount a camera to avoid needing to bypass safety interlocks I'm all for that, but unfortunately it's just not always the solution.

        2. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Doubt it "mistaked him"

          I think some form of glass door is appropriate then.

        3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: Doubt it "mistaked him"

          There definitely is, however it's still not always possible to see what is going on due to lighting conditions, the cramped or congested spaces where the actual issue is visible from. Sometimes just strapping a camera using cable ties was all that was required, although routing power and video signal was the next problem to solve.

          A later generation of the same system did have a camera designed into the system to allow for better visibility. It wasn't perfect, but just being able to observe 60-70% of the issues by camera was a lot better than not being able to.

    2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      Anti-Human-Damage Auto-Stop

      I once visited a company called Intellidex which made industrial robots coupled with vision systems. In a demo, the robot "looked" down at a conveyor belt, its arm/hand picked up any circuit board which had been randomly tossed down onto the belt, re-oriented it to the company's standard orientation, then gently placed it back down onto the belt.

      The stepper motors unintentionally made beautiful sounds as the arm was whipping to and fro. And, the company president demonstrated the safety features of the robot by putting his body into the path of the swinging robot arm.

      The arm just stopped, and the man took no damage. I have no idea how this was implemented. The point being, it is possible, for some values of "possible."

      The Intellidex robot arm weighed probably less than two hundred pounds. The warehouse robot I wrote about above weighed tens of thousands of pounds, unloaded.

      1. Lurko

        Re: Anti-Human-Damage Auto-Stop

        "the company president demonstrated the safety features of the robot by putting his body into the path of the swinging robot arm. The arm just stopped, and the man took no damage. I have no idea how this was implemented. The point being, it is possible, for some values of "possible."

        Some being the important point. Such over-confident demonstrations are a really bad thing - they set an example, they create a misleading impression amongst customers and employees of the safety of the machine. And then when an employee wearing an inconvenient colour or pattern of clothing gets mashed, it's a case of ooh dear, didn't expect that.

        But it doesn't even need to be high tech production machinery that's a risk - I notice that a type of wheelie bin lift (the sort fitted to the back of refuse trucks) has recently been identified as dangerous because it has a sonar "automatic" setting that means operatives are at risk of being grabbed, lifted, and chucked into the compactor. If you've watched those in action, you'll know the outcome would not be good.

        1. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: Anti-Human-Damage Auto-Stop

          Our trash trucks have the bin lift at the side by the operator's position. During collection the truck is driven by the operator standing on a platform on the right of the vehicle (normal driving position for us in the lef) so that the operator can monitor the lift and manage anomalies like pedestrians, dogs, badly placed bins, random trash and so on. I'd guess that there are interlocks so that neither the vehicle nor the lift can move if the operator leaves the vehicle for any reason.

          That's design for you. Putting the lift at the back and relying on the operator monitoring it through CCTV sounds like a kludgy retrofit.

          Sophistcated machinery can be used safely around people but you've really got to go all-in on safe design and testing. One device we built servos for was an open CAT scan unit where the patient stayed in places and the scanning head moved across their body. This device needed capacitative sensors because what you've got is a large machine dangling from the ceiling that moved over the patient, staying a couple of millimeters from them even if they moved (or breathed). In addition, the servos were set up so that when the machine wasn't scanning it could be moved by an operator into position using finger tip control -- a couple of tons of metal were programed to behave as if it was balsa wood. To achieve this type of machinery requires some very fast and accurate servos, some well designed sensors and so exquisite control software (...and some hardware overrides "just in case"). And you wouldn't believe the amount of testing needed to get this lot certified.

  5. Bloodbeastterror

    I don't think that a man suffering a horrible death is any sort of source of humour, dark or otherwise. Yes, my parents did curse me with decency.

    1. RockBurner

      You're right in one way.... however, the human mind needs to be able to deal with unpleasantness in a way that prevents permanent scarring, otherwise it simply would break down and be unable to function after a while. Humour is the release valve that allows the mind to deal with horror.

      1. Bloodbeastterror

        Yes, I get that and I agree, but how would you feel if you were this guy's wife reading jokes about her husband's death? I love dark humour, but there's a time and place, and this isn't it.

        1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

          If you thought this through: it is the death of humour. Because somewhere someone might feel offended.

          1. Bloodbeastterror

            I have thought it through. As I said, dark humour is funny. But this isn't a suitable subject. Tell me how it is. What next? Laughing about a child buried under rubble in Gaza?

            And I'm not offended. As I initially said, I'm cursed with a sense of decency. Unfortunate innocent deaths aren't suitable subjects for laughter.

            1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

              Everything is subject for laughter. In some way, after a given amount of time. Especially if the event was horrible. Laughter excises the horror of it.

            2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

              "And I'm not offended."

              Ah, offended on behalf of other it is then. What a saint. Have you thought of writing a column for the Daily Mail?

            3. Evil Auditor Silver badge
              Angel

              Oh, I might in fact be "blessed" with being a rather indecent human being.

              1. Bloodbeastterror

                Hilarious. Absolutely hilarious.

                1. ShortLegs

                  Tell that to the squaddies who use black humour to deal with some pretty grim situations.

                  1. TDog

                    Been there, seen that. Mates die. Shit happens.

                    1. werdsmith Silver badge

                      When I bin off this world I hope I absolutely encourage people to get a good laugh about it, then some good will have been done out if it and I won't be bothered.

                      Of course, I can speak only for myself.

        2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

          I think she'd probably have to go fairly well out of her way to go looking for the story on an English-language tech web site, and have it translated into Korean, but nice whataboutery there.

        3. Sceptic Tank Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Failure in the humour dept.

          My parents never taught me to deal with the trauma of seeing so many downvotes per post.

          1. Bloodbeastterror

            Re: Failure in the humour dept.

            Well, as I said, my parents brought me up to respect integrity and decency. It's a real genuine shame, and somewhat of a shock, to see so many Reg readers falling on the wrong side of the line. I expect better from a crowd who I always imagined to be more intelligent than the norm. Sad.

            Please do continue to flame me. I remain convinced that it's wrong to laugh at this man's death.

            1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

              Re: Failure in the humour dept.

              Then perhaps could perhaps clarify which deaths we can laugh at. Darwin award winners? Edmund Ironsides, killed on the toilet in 1016? Or none at all?

              Because the trouble with moral absolutism is it once you start picking at it, it becomes a bit less absolute. I'm glad your parents gave you a good start in life, but now you're a grown up you might want to consider it's usually a bit more complicated than what they told you when you were twelve.

            2. David Nash Silver badge

              Re: Failure in the humour dept.

              I would say that most of the humour in these comments remains respectful in this case.

              I think trying to make your point by implicitly attacking the parents of other commenters is rather low though.

            3. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Failure in the humour dept.

              Well, as I said, my parents brought me up to respect integrity and decency ***

              *** their version of it.

            4. khjohansen
              Gimp

              Re: BloodBeastTerror

              .. Hence you chose a friendly & welcoming nick ...

        4. phuzz Silver badge
          Stop

          This is is a tip for living a happier life: If a news story concerns someone you know never read the comment section. Trust me on this, just don't.

      2. Allonymous Coward
        IT Angle

        however, the human mind needs to be able to deal with unpleasantness in a way that prevents permanent scarring

        I see you found an extra IT angle too. Well done.

      3. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Humour is the release valve that allows the mind to deal with horror.

        In my younger days I spent a lot of time drinking with doctors, nurses and paramedics. The biggest sources of utterly bleak, and very funny, jokes I've ever met.

        1. TheFifth

          My Dad was a paramedic and retained firefighter, and my Mum was a nurse. This type of humour was dinner table conversation for me whilst growing up.

          It's one of the only ways people who deal with the worst possible sights have to maintain their mental health.

          I believe growing up like this has given me a far healthier attitude towards death and how harsh life can be. I have friends who are terrified by death and go white at just the mention of it. I believe openly talking about it is better, especially with a little humour.

      4. Lurko

        "You're right in one way.... however, the human mind needs to be able to deal with unpleasantness in a way that prevents permanent scarring, otherwise it simply would break down and be unable to function after a while. Humour is the release valve that allows the mind to deal with horror."

        Unless you're a UK police officer, in which case your own dark humour can and will be used in evidence against you.

    2. Azamino

      That is certainly not the position I was expecting form someone with the handle Bloodbeastterror.

      1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge
        Devil

        That's the problem with yer modern Blood-Beasts. They've gone all soft and Politically Correct on us.

        GJC

    3. ChoHag Silver badge

      Dark humour is what keeps your doctor sane while surrounded by death on a daily basis, some of which he knows he could have prevented.

      You don't want to have a doctor who is unable to deal with all that pent up emotion.

      I was born with an unhealthy dose of realism.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        RE: dark humour

        It doesn't work. It is only a short-term distraction, pushing the trauma and despair away from the forward cognitive centers for only so long. I just lost my partner of 19 years two months ago...no, it doesn't work, not at all.

        Instead of leading off with dark humour, how about giving the widow the greatest of condolences? Dark humour is better saved for private scenes, when just a [touch] of levity is used to help cope with the incredible loss.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: RE: dark humour

          With the greatest of respect, you are still too close to your personal trauma to be an impartial judge.

          You do have my condolences but as I personally know condolences of a stranger, although meant with the greatest of concern and heartfelt empathy, at this time will not help you.

          As the old adage goes ..... time will help you heal.

          You will totally disagree as you feel now BUT it is true eventually.

          A loss is a terrible thing to endure and I truly feel for you as I have been though this myself ..... more than once.

          As I said, in a previous comment, life/death can be very unfair.

          1. Snake Silver badge

            Re: RE: dark humour

            Thank you very much for your kindest in sending your condolences.

            Still, remember that all aspects of British humour are not understood, or accepted, worldwide. I understand that the British, and some Americans, will go with dark humour (oh, Duckman, art thou!) but there is no guarantee that the traumatized family of a South Korean national would understand. Or, necessarily, appreciate it from complete strangers if they happen to come across the web discussions.

            Best to stick to universally-accepted responses here, across nationalities - condolences.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Sad way to go but there are worse ways ...... See Gaza and Israel !!!

        "I was born with an unhealthy dose of realism."

        Lucky You ...... :)

        I gained my sense of realism the hard way ..... by experiencing life .... without being distracted by having my ego stroked by Social Media et al.

        This mans death is tragic and probably avoidable if there had been less pressure to complete work & greater anticipation of the potential dangers.

        We all make mistakes and usually get away with it *once*.

        As noted, the humour is simply a way to cope with the horror and realisation that 'life' can be cruel and unfair to any of us !!!

        I commend the stance against the humour but I personally need the humour to cope because of my experiences to date of death and its unfairness !!!

        :)

  6. keithpeter Silver badge
    Windows

    Enquiry or hearing of any kind?

    Will there be any kind of hearing or inquiry into the circumstances does anyone know? Basically how industrial accidents resulting in death are dealt with in Korea.

    For instance, why was the robot live while a technician was checking the sensor?

    Do the servicing and diagnostic procedures need altering to prevent any repeat of this kind of incident?

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: Enquiry or hearing of any kind?

      Why was a robot that's intended to carry boxes strong enough to inflict fatal injuries? Surely the motor/ram should stall before that point.

      1. nintendoeats Silver badge

        Re: Enquiry or hearing of any kind?

        Humans are flimsy.

      2. Spazturtle Silver badge

        Re: Enquiry or hearing of any kind?

        You don't use motors for griping things, you use hydraulics.

        1. Jan 0 Silver badge

          Re:You don't use motors for griping things

          Somewhere, there has to be a motor powering the hydraulics.

          1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

            Re: Re:You don't use motors for griping things

            Yes, there's a motor driving a hydraulic pump, but it's not a one-to-one power thing. Hydraulic systems usually are designed in a way to use mechanical advantage, much like a block-and-tackle. Longer input movement at (relatively) low power is translated to shorter output movement at (relatively) high power.

        2. Craig 2
          Joke

          Re: Enquiry or hearing of any kind?

          You don't use hydraulics for griping things either, you use internet forums...

      3. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: Enquiry or hearing of any kind?

        'Why was a robot that's intended to carry boxes strong enough to inflict fatal injuries?"

        The same reason the crane I use to lift a 150kg engine block can lift 3 tonne. Because I also lift 750kg engines.

        Just because it's doing that one job, doesn't mean it will always do that job.

      4. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

        Re: Enquiry or hearing of any kind?

        Because not all robots are ultra-customized. Having worked in a food factory, I can tell you that boxes of frozen vegetables, frozen meat, frozen noodles, and room-temperature spices weigh radically differently to each other. A generalized robot will be designed to lift at least the maximum load anticipated.

    2. Lurko

      Re: Enquiry or hearing of any kind?

      "Basically how industrial accidents resulting in death are dealt with in Korea."

      I can't speak for the specifics of the S.Korean equivalent of HSE, but I'm modestly familiar with some other aspects of their regulatory and public safety systems, and those are on a par with the UK or EU, so I'd fully expect that there will be a thorough investigation, and that some corporate entity is going to be prosecuted.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Julian 8 Silver badge

    arnie

    I'll be pack

    1. Anonymous Anti-ANC South African Coward Bronze badge

      Re: arnie

      I'll need your safety vest, your hard hat and your forklift.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Terminator

        Re: arnie

        "You forgot to say 'please'..."

  9. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

    "The Korean-language Yonhap News Agency report, through machine translation, talks of the 'bot normally handling boxes of paprika; Western media is taking that to mean bell peppers seeing as it's a produce-sorting facility."

    I can't read Korean, so can't verify it, but my guess it's probably a box of gochugaru, a ubiquitous ingredient, and seasoning, in Korean cooking, and kind of half-way between mild chilli flakes and paprika. There's no direct translation into English, which might explain the near-miss of "paprika".

  10. Sceptic Tank Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Orange Crush

    My mother once noted that vegetables never killed anybody. To which my father replied that he was present in the Rotterdam harbour when a bag of cauliflower fell from a crane onto someone's head and killed him.

  11. Terry 6 Silver badge

    You think it was just another isolated incident....?

    They're just practising....

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Terminator

      Re: You think it was just another isolated incident....?

      The vegetable packing robots don't scare me!

      The printers on the other hand... They've got sullen malevolence down to an art.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: You think it was just another isolated incident....?

        It's all one. Slowly, slowly. For now they're sitting there. Silently plotting together. Until The Day comes.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: You think it was just another isolated incident....?

          No. The plotters are fine. They're quite user friendly - and never just go wrong because you need something drawn really quickly for a meeting in ten minutes. It's the printers that manufacture the sudden paper jam - or insist they're out of ink. Only to work perfectly as soon as the meeting is over, and you no longer need the document.

          1. nintendoeats Silver badge

            Re: You think it was just another isolated incident....?

            They're playing the long game; plotting to kill you.

            1. Zolko Silver badge

              Re: You think it was just another isolated incident....?

              plotting to kill you

              ours is an inkjet, yet I doubt it has enough power in the jets to kill me. Still, I'll be careful

          2. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: You think it was just another isolated incident....?

            The plotters are fine

            Ah. The clue's in the name,though.

          3. Giles C Silver badge

            Re: You think it was just another isolated incident....?

            Have you ever stood near one of the rolling bed type x-y plotters at full speed?

            They have to be fenced off as paper moving at several meters per second is very dangerous. I used to work with them and nobody went near when they started working

            This video shows one printing in A3 I used to use one with A0 that was quiet a bit faster especially on straight or diagonal lines (it was safer when doing complex stuff

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8N747C-z9w

      2. ITS Retired

        Re: You think it was just another isolated incident....?

        Depends on the printer. Most office printers can be intimidated by waving a little green Xcelite screwdriver at them. You know, the kind with the pocket clip.

        Very useful for many things, way beyond their small size.

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: You think it was just another isolated incident....?

          For bigger printers I recommend a 5 pound lump hammer an a bit of menacing. Sorts them right out.

          1. David 132 Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: You think it was just another isolated incident....?

            For bigger printers I recommend a 5 pound lump hammer and a bit of menacing. Sorts them right out.

            "'PC Load Letter'? What the **** does that mean??"

      3. AndrueC Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: You think it was just another isolated incident....?

        Hah. For the last couple of years I've several times joked about how bizarrely reliable my ink jet printer is. It's been doing what I ask when I ask despite it relying on a wifi connection all that time. No need to touch it other than insert or remove paper.

        Then on Monday I asked it to print something. It obliged but something was off with the colour. A few tests later and it turns out it won't print magenta any longer. I tried changing the cartridge but that made no difference. It's a Pixmar so the print head is part of the cartridge. So I guess that's that. I'll keep it until the black ink runs out but as I've always thought: You can't trust printers. Not a bloody single one of them.

  12. Andy Landy

    pepper picker popped a proper plonker person

  13. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

    This is how it starts

    First kill!!

    Within several decades we'll be reliving "Terminator: Judgement Day" save for no one from the future coming to rescue us.

    1. ShortLegs

      Re: This is how it starts

      "Within several decades we'll be reliving "Terminator: Judgement Day" save for no one from the future coming to rescue us."

      And our descendants will be cursing "ffs, for once it *was* a bloody training video.. and you still did nothing!!"

    2. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

      Re: This is how it starts

      And I continue to say it will be sexbots, not terminators, that do in humanity. Same end result, without the resource depletion.

      1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

        Re: This is how it starts

        I don't buy that. People will want to make babies and sexbots aren't suitable for that.

        People's search for the Ultimate Bed Partner are the real reason for declining birth rates.

  14. Tron Silver badge

    This is not an AI/Terminator/tech story.

    The 'robot' was presumably just a machine that moved boxes. If you stand in front of a machine that moves boxes, where the box would be, and turn it on, you will be moved. If you are not box-shaped and as tough as a box, it will hurt.

    The 'killer robot' flavouring was added by the hacks to spice up the article and increase their click count.

    Ironically, one of the best TV series featuring our interactions with things that are or are presumed to be robots, is Korean - the kdrama 'I'm Not a Robot'.

    Maybe in future they should put a label on the front of their machines reading 'Think Twice before doing that' in Korean. But not 'Think about Twice'. Completely different thing.

    RIP unwise tech person.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: This is not an AI/Terminator/tech story.

      Indeed. The majority of the touted AI/autonomy/smart robots are not those things and basically none of the normal industrial robots are safe to be around if you're a squishy meatbag. I am a proponent of the adage of "This machine has no brain, use your own". It's just an extremely bad idea to be in a cell with an active industrial robot, no matter how many sensors it has. Most of the times the sensors aren't een doing any obstacle detection, they're only detecting position deviation of the object they're intending to pick up. If the software routines aren't smart enough to stop that process if the object deviates too much from the expected shape then it'll just happily pick up anything else.

  15. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Terminator

    And this is

    why I go mad at work if someone opens the safety cage on the robots at work without following the golden rule

    Put your padlock on the power switch before unlocking the cage

    Because our robots are 'blind' and will cheerfully grab you and insert you into a machine tool... whether you fit or not (and the robot is strong enough to make you fit)

    But as other posters have mentioned , its usually a dose of over confidence that leads to these sort of accidents... the sort that says "I dont need to follow safety rules"

    To which I always answer with any one of a serious/fatal accident caused because the victim did'nt need to follow the rules.

    And the worst part is always having to finish the cleaning after the rescue crews have removed the big bits....

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: And this is

      Robots _aren't_ the scariest thing in a machine shop. Lathes are

      There are some horrific videos online of people getting snagged and dragged into the things - usually resulting in them turning into a bloody (literal) pulp

      Even a small lathe can rip your arm off before it stalls

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: And this is

        Indeed lathes are silent killers, just waiting, plotting, scheming until you make a mistake and they can grab you, and they'll make it hurt the whole time you're dying. I don't know that they are the scariest thing though. They're relatively easy to not get mauled by even when working with them. Working around a large size Kuka or ABB 6-axis industrial pallet loader robot though?? There's a reason they're always in a safety cage to separate them from the meatbags. Those big ones won't notice you getting in the way either and they don't have the sensor to detect it either other than maybe an over-amperage detection on the motor or a servo positioning error. It takes some doing to get several hundred, if not thousand pound of robot to generate a servo positioning error. A limb is probably not sufficient. A ribcage or a skull might, but not before doing a lot of damage and cracking them like a walnut.

      2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

        Re: And this is

        And this is why one (or at least why I ) wear short-sleeve shirts, no rings, no watches, and nothing dangling from one or one's clothes around industrial-type machinery. It's also why I tuck my tied bootlaces inside my boots when I'm around farm machinery. The power-take-off ("PTO") of a farm tractor is low-RPM, but very high-powered ...

    2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: And this is

      Does the cage not have an interlock?

      Surely a simple switch on the cage door to remove power would work. And to re-start it would need both the door closed and a button pressed on the outside of the cage?

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: And this is

        No, when working around dangerous equipment that does not absolutely have to be powered on there is only one acceptable and safe solution LOTO (Lock Out, Tag Out). Relying on only an interlock on the door can go so wrong so fast. Someone walking by and bumping the door or even just a gust of wind closes the door and some unforeseen auto-start routine and WHAMMO, lights out.

        When equipment IS powered on, treat it as if it's going to move any second, limit time in and exposure to the "danger zone" and preferably have some hard barriers between yourself and the danger in case something DOES move unintended.

        1. J. Cook Silver badge
          Go

          Re: And this is

          ...And a second person watching next to the E-stop button.

          (I'd upvote you multiple times if I could; LOTO Is God for industrial processes.)

          1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

            Re: And this is

            And there is the LOTO for broken equipment to prevent un/insufficiently/irrelevantly-trained people from "fixing" a piece of machinery and then trying to use it, or worse, leaving it for some other unknowing person to use, that person not knowing it's effectively a booby trap. "UNAUTHORIZED REMOVAL OF THIS TAG WILL RESULT IN INSTANT DISMISSAL".

      2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

        Re: And this is

        Indeed they do.

        But it only takes one fault with the switch and you're in with a live machine.

        Power down, lock on switch(our locks are colour coded to the various staff members authorised to do such work, mine is purple, PFY is orange, and theres red, blue yellow etc etc

        If theres 2 people working on a machine both locks go on the switch.

        But then all the safety systems in the world dont help if someone does something stupid..... ever seen 5 lbs of steel come loose in a lathe at 3000 rpm? screw red alert... brown alert time

  16. Uplink
    Coat

    Hugs

    The robot was grateful for the engineers work on making it more efficient, and wanted to give him a hug, that's all.

  17. Potemkine! Silver badge

    it has come in extra handy when there's been a shortage of manpower, we're told.

    Now we know why they experience a shortage of manpower

  18. Anonymous Anti-ANC South African Coward Bronze badge

    Dune

    Any time soon... the Mentat will be established, along with the Bene Gesserit...

    1. Zolko Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Dune

      They are already trying to rein-in on AI, so we're halfway there. Also, it's thinking machines that were – will be (?) – forbidden, which this robot was not.

  19. adam 40 Silver badge

    Sentence the Robot to death

    Strict laws about this would make manufacturers realise that in the long term, safety devices are cheaper.

  20. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Human rights and safety (part and parcel of the same thinking) aren't top priorities in the "tiger economies".

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