Humanoid Robot Works Up a Sweat

Researchers have come up with a unique cooling system for use in robots that's similar to how humans sweat to address overheating.

 

The idea of robots entering the workforce and especially our personal lives make a lot of people sweat. Well thanks to some ingenuity from Japanese researchers, humanoid robots can sweat as well—not due to anxiety, but as a novel way to address heating problems from being overworked.

A team at the University of Tokyo’s JSK Lab has come up with a solution that mimics how sweating happens in humans to cool heated muscles. Their proposed cooling solution is practiced on Kengoro, a musculoskeletal robot standing at 5.6 inches tall and weighing in at 123.5 pounds. The sweating mechanism takes advantage of Kengoro’s laser sintered frame made of aluminum powder, which offers both high and low permeability areas along with micro channels that allow for water to pass through, according to an article in Tech Times.

Likened to “aluminum bones,” the water runs through these channels and then is ejected through the internal porous layers as well as the ones closer to the surface of the frame. By doing what the paper describes as “sweating” water out of its frame, the robot’s 108 motors are adequately cooled without having to take up precious real estate to add additional cooling systems such as radiators and fans, the article reported. This approach, the researchers say, addresses many of the heat dissipation and thermal management problems typically encountered with robotics efforts.

The research team put its cooling solution to the test by having Kengoro do pushups for 11 minutes straight without overheating. Can’t say I could do the same.

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