updated 3/14/2011 2:10:33 PM ET 2011-03-14T18:10:33

If you're interested in knowing how many punches you can take from a robot, head to University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, where six brave volunteers have stood tall against a mechanical Mike Tyson in the name of safety. The robot is testing just how much pain machine-on-man violence causes, so that researchers can properly calibrate industrial equipment to avoid injuring workers.

Originally, the experiment involves one robot arm striking another fake arm filled with impact-measuring sensors. However, that didn't give the researchers accurate enough data. So Borut Povše, the professor behind the study, found a half dozen solid-chinned test subjects to more accurate describe when the robot started hurting them.

In a paper describing the earlier experiment with the two robot arms, Povše described the work environment that necessitates this kind of research:

"Future development of industrial production performance and new technologies require coexistence of humans and robotic systems. Future robots will not work behind safety guards with locked doors or light barriers. Instead they will be working in close cooperation with humans which leads to fundamental concern of how to ensure safe physical human robot interaction."

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