Knife-wielding robot HERB separates Oreo cookies

CMU's HERB seems to prefer the "precious creme" inside Oreo cookies. Now put that knife down.

Tim Hornyak
Crave freelancer Tim Hornyak is the author of "Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots." He has been writing about Japanese culture and technology for a decade. E-mail Tim.
Tim Hornyak
Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET

Oreo wants you to devote some mental space to cookies again, and has taken to social media with an effective campaign for your neurons.

Its Cookie vs Creme ads have featured a Rube Goldberg-style contraptions to separate the two Oreo elements.

The ads are set to vintage NES music by Anamanaguchi, a heady digital stew that sounds like a sonic Oreo made of YMO and Polysics. But I digress.

The coolest video in the series stars Carnegie Mellon University's HERB robot butler. Under development for seven years, HERB has multi-joined arms and a camera on its head.

The ad below shows the machine trying to separate the Oreo cookies from the creme filling.

It goes at it with a frying pan and a rather long kitchen knife. It's always fun to let robots play with knives.

HERB gets down to business by separating the Oreo halves with its arms, rubbing off what it calls the "precious creme" with a grater and towel, and then presenting the cookie for human consumption.

The performance is all the more delightful with HERB's metallic British voice. But I want to know what it did with the creme filling.