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Butler robot learns to separate an Oreo

Sure, you could just use your fingers to separate your biscuits — but where's the fun in that when you can teach a robot to do it for you?

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(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

Sure, you could just use your fingers to separate your biscuits — but where's the fun in that when you can teach a robot to do it for you?

Meet HERB (a Home Exploring Robotic Butler). He lives at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, US, and goes about the very important business of acting as a research platform under associate professor Siddhartha Srinivasa of the Robotics Institute.

Originally developed to act as a sort of butler, HERB can be programmed for a variety of tasks using his three-fingered arms. Such as pull apart an Oreo for his human friends.

The team at Carnegie Mellon have trained HERB to do just that as part of an advertising campaign for Oreo and the last of four videos ads in the series. Normally, we would steer clear of advertising campaigns, but there's a certain je ne sais quoi about the little guy that we just can't resist.

It takes a bit of trial and error, but HERB gets there in the end with stunning precision. We would have thought that those robot fingers would crush the delicate biscuit.

You can view the rest of the videos — featuring purpose-built robots — on Oreo's YouTube channel and, more interestingly, watch how Carnegie Mellon Robotics made their video here.

And now we really want a HERB of our very own.

Via www.geekosystem.com