AI News, This Robot Can Do More Push-Ups Because It Sweats
- On Saturday, February 3, 2018
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This Robot Can Do More Push-Ups Because It Sweats
Engineers solve this heat-generating problem in most mechanical systems by using fans, heat sinks, and radiators, which means that you’ve got all of this dedicated cooling infrastructure that takes up space and adds mass.
The researchers, from the University of Tokyo’sJSKLab, led by Professor MasayukiInaba, were trying to figure out how to add a cooling system to their 1.7-meter tall, 56-kilogram musculoskeletal humanoid named Kengoro (who joins Kojiro and Kenshiro as part of the JSK robot family).Kengoro is already stuffed to the brim with structural components, circuit boards, gears, and 108 motors (!), and there was simply no room to add active water cooling with tubes and a radiator and fans.
The laser-sintering technique is precise enough to build up aluminum structures with areas of both low and high permeability, letting you make seamless metal components that have microchannels embedded in them through which water can flow.
Now that you’ve got aluminum bones that can transport water around your robot, the other trick (there’s definitely more than one trick here) is to get the robot to sweat in a useful way rather than just leaking water all over the floor.
Testing shows that this method of cooling works three times better than air cooling, and significantly better than just circulating water through the interior channel, although it’s not as effective as a traditional radiator using active cooling.
This robot sweats to keep cool
Just like human muscles, the motors that drive a humanoid robot generate a lot of heat.
This allows the robot to keep its slim, humanoid frame while taking on tasks that would have previously burnt out its motors, according to IEEE Spectrum.
The lab’s previous robots have aimed to mimic human structures, like the shoulders, knees, and now parts of the excretory system.
Researchers Build Robot That Sweats To Cool Off
A group of Japanese researchers have managed to build a robot that can do a whole bunch of pushups—by sweating like a human.
The researchers, from the University of Tokyo's JSK lab, built a humanoid robot called Kengoro that can move in pretty much all the ways a human can.
The team built a water circulation system into Kengoro's metal skeleton, and allowed the water to seep out around the motors to cool them.
Sweating is more efficient than other passive cooling methods like air cooling and simple water circulation, although it's less efficient than active cooling.
Meet Kengoro, the Robot that Sweats to Cool Itself Down
With an eye toward a future where robots that will work collaboratively alongside humans, or perhaps more unsettlingly, even replace them completely, robots have been gaining some human-like capabilities as of late.
Researchers are working on instilling the ability to feel pain in our machine counterparts, as well as the potential to be controlled by bacteria-based brains, in an effort to create robots capable of responding to environmental stimuli with some degree of autonomy.
According to IEEE Spectrum, water is able to percolate out of Kengoro’s metal frame, which consists of 3D printed aluminum powder that has been compacted solid with the heat of a laser (or in industry terms, it’s been “sintered”).
Additive manufacturing processes such as this allow for great precision and control, allowing the researchers to play with the material’s permeability by varying the energy density of the laser during fabrication.
Using this technique, the team was able to create aluminum components that had some areas with higher permeability than others, laying down a system of digitally fabricated “microchannels”
As one can see in the image below, the laser-sintered aluminum has a permeable channel in it — it’s barely perceptible, but it’s the area that looks a bit darker than the rest.
A self-regulating, autonomous humanoid robot would be a departure from the less threatening-looking collaborative robots we’ve seen thus far, and would probably lend some weight to fears that the forthcoming robot apocalypse will have robots replacing humans in all kinds of jobs.
Meet Kengoro: A Robot That Maintains Its Cool By Sweating
With Kengorobeing 1.7 m (5.5 ft.) in height and tipping the scales at 56 kg (123 lbs), adding a bunch of cooling components would have compromised its capabilities.
In order for the water to not collect in puddles on the floor, the water passed from and inner porous layer to an exteriorporours layer near the outer frame, allowing for the water to hit the air and evaporate away.