Scientists at the University of Tokyo have invented a robot that sweats when it works out. The humanoid-looking mechanical man can do a lot of things normal humans can do, such as walk, run and perform common exercises, such as sit-ups and push-ups.
Japanese scientists have cobbled together two prototypes of these athletic robots. One they call Kenshiro and his “brother’ is dubbed Kengoro. When these “guys” perform a hard work out, the metal machinery of their body grows hot and needs to cool, just as the metal in your car engine needs a cooling system to keep it from overheating.
Kenshiro and Kengoro can circulate water through their metal frames. Tiny holes in the frame act as steam vents for moisture to escape – the effect is similar to the way a human being eliminates moisture through pores in the skin during a workout session.
Japanese robotics experts have long been on the cutting edge of creating robots that are becoming progressively more human. While Kenshiro and Kengoro represent a leap forward in incorporating the physical characteristics of human anatomy, they’re still not all that smart yet.
But there are plans to incorporate these models with artificial intelligence, or AI. This would move them a step closer to being more like real people. For example, there is already talk of using Kenshiro-type robots as search and rescue units. If equipped with AI, and with the assistance of human operators, the machines could provide life-saving services for the species that created them.
Another suggested use for robots of this class is as extremely sophisticated crash test dummies. Because they could mimic human movements – actions and reactions – in a collision situation, the data obtained would be superior to that gleaned from inert dummies.
Certainly, many remain uncomfortable with the thought of robots getting so near to actual human-like form – but for now, the only ones truly sweating it are Kenshiro and Kengoro.