In Japan, researchers from the University of Tokyo have managed to create a humanoid robot called Kengoro that can sweat to increase the duration of its performance. The functions of the sweating robot are showcased through 11-minute push-ups sessions.
Although robots do not get tired when they perform certain strenuous physical tasks like doing push-ups, they do however overheat. Kengoro, the musculoskeletal humanoid robot is 5 feet 6 inches tall and made its debut at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems which was held this week in Daejon, Korea.
Japanese researchers led by Toyotaka Kozuki analyzed the sweating function of humans which helps maintain our body’s temperature. In doing so, they have successfully applied an artificial version of sweating to Kengoro. This method did is superior to standard air cooling and it does not require various tubes and fans.
The creation of a sweating robot was possible thanks to its innovative structure. Its frame is built using a type of 3-D printing technology called laser sintering. By using aluminum powder as the base material for its frame, scientists could control the permeability of the robot’s frame. The metal is porous so it can allow small quantities of water to seep through it.
The permeable metal structure means that the developers could install fake sweat glands that release deionized water when the temperature of the metal reaches a certain point. The water seeps through the frame around the 108 motors of the sweating robot. When the motors heat up because of certain activities, then the water is released to cool them off. The water doesn’t build up as it evaporates the moment it reaches the high-temperature motors.
Kengoro, the sweating robot, only needs a cup of deionized water to run for a half day, even more, if its supply is replenished. The robot has also been shown to be able to do push-ups at a slow pace but continuously for 11 minutes. The sweating function doesn’t work as efficient as a radiator which actively cools the frame. However, using only sweat glands and water allows for a lighter and less complex structure. This innovation could provide a simple and efficient way for robots to work for an extended time without overheating.
What do you think about this new sweating robot?
Image source: JSK Lab/University of Tokyo