When Precision Matters Most

When you think of a game you most likely think of kid-friendly classics like hide-and-seek, go fish, or maybe even a fun family board game. “The knife game”, however, is far from Parcheesi.

Precision is the name of the game.

Also known as stabscotch and five finger fillet, the knife game is intense and dangerous. It’ a game where precision is essential and a mistake can be disastrous. The knife game has a loose set of rules, but it essentially involves opening your hand on a hard surface and stabbing a knife between your fingers.

It’s meant to showcase a person’s speed, dexterity, precision, control and confidence. However, the fact that humans often make mistakes is what makes the game suspenseful and stressful to watch.

Just watching this “game” could make the coolest customer nervous. The game undoubtedly originated in a time where people had nothing else to do for fun than stab knives around their hands. There’s very little margin for error, and a mistake could result in a severed finger. Now, technology has been introduced to this primitive game.

A Sploid contributor dug up this video of a robot playing the knife game with a composed, yet vigilant, human participant.

That’s confidence.

Is it more stressful to watch a human or a robot play five finger fillet?

Human error is what makes this game suspenseful and scary. People are not perfect or precise, and even the most practiced stabscotcher could get it wrong. We’re prone to make mistakes. Removing the human element should eliminate the butterflies from fluttering in your stomach. But does it?

Is it more intense watching a robot stab a knife between fragile human fingers or watching a person do the same thing? The video of the Staubli TX40 robot demonstrates the precision of an industrial type robot, but some people may find it to be just as stressful, or more stressful than watching a person play the game themselves.

Industrial motion control and the knife game are a match made in heaven.

There’s a striking similarity between the knife game and industrial motion control. Both require the utmost precision, and a mistake may leave you hurting. For these reasons, it somehow seems fitting to see an industrial robot partaking in five finger fillet. Industrial robots rarely make mistakes, and they’re unrivaled in precision movement. This is true only if your machinery is working properly, of course.


If you operate an Indramat motion control system, you need to make sure that your machinery is up to snuff. Your hand may not be on the line, but your business certainly is. Call us today for Indramat repair, Indramat service, or any of your Indramat motion control needs!