There is a new robot in town and he can pretty much beat you all in the physical education class, and he can sweat to show you how committed he really is. Just like the human body, machines heat up during activity. Cooling is a continual issue that must be dealt with in construction of anything that basically relies on an engine. And at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems(IROS) this past week, a team of Japanese researchers showed off a new concept which may be the wave of the futu re in robotics, offering greater efficiency in higher torque scenarios, prompted by their work on a 1.7-meter tall, 56-kilogram musculoskeletal humanoid that has been dubbed Kengoro.
The team is from JSK Lab at the University of Tokyo. Led by Professor Masayuki Inaba, they have created Kengoro as their third robot, with Kojiro and Kenshiro preceding him. The bio-inspired machine boasts 108 motors, along with a variety of circuit boards, gears, and more. With so many components, the research team was forced to innovate in terms of a cooling mechanism simply due to a lack of room. They chose to look at the 3D printed metal frame of the robot as its ‘skeleton’ and sought a way to make a much more creative cooling system than ever seen before. And it’s the 3D printed element that allows for this sweating mechanism to begin with, due to the varying levels of permeability allowed in the metal material working as microchannels for the fluid (water) to act as sweat when things get hot—ultimately cooling off Kengoro.
As you can see from the images and the video below, Kengoro is definitely operating on a much different level from the robots we’re using to seeing. He can do push-ups continuously for 11 minutes with this new cooling system which the researchers state is three times better than traditional air cooling. Just one cup of deionized water is enough to keep him cooled for half a day.
Millsaps, Bridget Butler. “Kengoro: 3D Printed Robot Works Up a Sweat at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots & Systems.”3DPrintcom. 3dprint.com, 17 Oct. 2016. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.