There's a reason why Oreos exist in their present form: they're a carefully formulated combination of exactly the right amount of cookie with exactly the right amount of creme. But that's just not good enough for humans, because humans are crazy, and rather than just buying some chocolate cookies or some frosting, we instead insist on disemboweling our Oreos to separate the creme from the cookie the hard way. We're willing to go to absurdly awesome lengths to do it, most recently including CMU's HERB robotic butler.
If a frying pan is ineffective, try a knife. Good thing to be teaching robots, eh?
Most of this seems to be autonomous, although honestly, it's a little bit hard to tell, although it was nice of CMU to put together this making-of video:
Despite the fact that this is a shameless promo for Oreos, it takes an impressively fine level of control to be able to manipulate the cookies without destroying them. I can only imagine how many broken Oreos the CMU students must have had to eat over the course of this project. Must've been tough. I just hope they had enough milk available, but maybe that'll be the next thing they teach HERB to provide for them.
Evan Ackerman is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and technology. He has a degree in Martian geology and is excellent at playing bagpipes.