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The Latest Oreo Separating Machine is Actually a Very Polite Robot Named HERB

Meet HERB, Carnegie Mellon’s sophisticated butler robot. He was built to help mankind by performing household tasks, so of course when Oreo put the call out for machines to separate cookie from creme, the roboticists at Carnegie Mellon University reprogrammed HERB for the job. They also — for reasons — programmed HERB to prefer the creme to the cookie, even though he’s a robot and can’t actually consume either. Watch HERB take some Oreos to task in the latest Oreo Separator video.

Check out HERB’s sweet cookie moves:

HERB is by far the most sophisticated cookie-separating robot I’ve seen so far, but he had the advantage of being a sophisticated robot before he was taught how to separate cookies. That doesn’t mean he met the task without challenges. The team at Carnegie Mellon had HERB try a few different methods before succeeding with his formal, almost samurai-like separation ritual.

Why on Earth one of those methods was to have HERB wielding a giant kitchen knife is beyond me, but it must have seemed like a good idea at the time.

The Oreo video shows off a lot of what HERB and his designers are capable of doing, but if you’d like a closer look, the team at Carnegie Mellon sent us this behind-the-scenes video that is very nearly as charming as the finished product.

I’ve written about the first two Oreo separator machines in the series, and was a little disappointed in myself when I realized this was #4. My apologies for missing #3. For a clear and shameless marketing ploy, these machines, the people behind them, and the videos about them are surprisingly fascinating.

It’s just such a perfect way to show different solutions to a task that seems simple, but is actually much more complicated than we first realize. It’s a better produced and more sophisticated version of the assignment elementary school students get where they have to list all the steps to making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Speaking of which, I bet HERB makes a mean PB&J.

(via YouTube)

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Glen is a comedian, writer, husband, and father. He won his third-grade science fair and is a former preschool science teacher, which is a real job.