Robots are getting more human-like every day, which is scary if you’re really concerned about some Matrix or Terminator stuff happening. But if you’re actually looking forward to robots “living” among us in the future, then this is a good thing, since we’re getting closer and closer to that reality everyday.
One of the big problems that modern robots face is heat. All those gears and motors and other bits generate a ton of heat and if the robots don’t have a coolant system, then they break down.
In the design process, engineers have to take this into account, which isn’t much of a problem if they’re designing a more simplistic bot. But it’s incredibly difficult when they’re trying to make a humanoid robot (the obvious and much cooler end goal here).
A University of Tokyo robotics team took that to heart with their newest robot, Kengoro. Kengoro is a humanoid robot that, among other things, can do pushups… for like… 11 minutes straight. It’s capable of doing this because Kengoro can sweat.
You see, Kengoro is a chock full of motors and whatnot, which means it can reach scorching temperatures. But the robot doesn’t have any spare room to put in a radiator and coolant system. So the team came up with a solution to have his frame (or bones) transfer water around the robot.
The team found a way to make the frame porous so that water can seep out and evaporate (that’s how our bodies cool themselves, by the way). It’s not as good as having a radiator and coolant system, but it is a lot lighter and not to mention, more efficient. This type of technology is something we can expect to see more of in the future as engineers begin to develop robotics with human-like capabilities.