Japanese scientists have constructed Kengoro, the world’s sweatiest robot as they borrow from nature in order to advance technology.
The University of Tokio team of scientists has constructed Kengoro, a humanoid robot standing tall at about 5.5 feet. The decision to create the robot was made after the team of scientists set out to investigate the human body, or more exactly its perspiration functions.
The human body is a complex mechanism. During physical labors or exercise, it transforms chemical into mechanical energy, operation which is accompanied by a heating effect.
In order to combat the heat and keep itself in proper functioning order, the body then produces perspiration, or sweat, that acts as a natural cooling system. Sweat is the combinations of water and evaporated body heat.
As the Japanese scientists set out to create a humanoid robot that would possess similar abilities, the problem of sweat production was quick to appear.
Robots usually feature a cooling system, as overheating can be a general problem, but pre-existing water-cooling systems are both complicated and voluminous and would not have fitted the compact structure that went to become Kengoro.
So instead, they came up with an innovative solution to both the device and the lack of space. The usual robot cooling techniques are based on a water pump that actively circulates through the frame.
In Kengoro’s case, instead of using a pump, scientists have adapted the frame so that it can act as a water distributor in itself. The robot’s skeleton structure was constructed out of a porous material that will help the deionized water circulate through the frame.
The news system should maintain the robot’s 108 motors at a reasonable temperature level, and also release heat through the process of perspiration.
Toyotaka Kozuki, the study’s lead author, explained that with the new idea, the team set to surpass the common, limited function of the frame, that of support, and instead utilize it in a more varied manner.
Kengoro sports an aluminum frame which supports a porous skeleton that will ensure the “artificial perspiration”. The skeleton was created with the help of laser sintering, which uses highly precise lasers in order to bind together powdered metal.
The high precision of the process allowed the creation of a layered porous arrangement on the skeleton, with one layer gathering heat while another, deeper one absorbed and evaporated it.
This precise, mammal inspired perspiration process allows Kengoro a higher number of human-like activities and exercises and also improves his efficiency.
Although innovative, the new method has some drawbacks, one of them being the fact that is not as effective as the traditional water pump. The second issue is one very well known to humans. Kengoro has to rehydrate constantly, albeit less frequently than humans as a cup can keep him up for half of the day.
Image Source: Wikimedia