I think it’s all time we addressed just how creepy robots are getting. I mean, do robotics researchers not watch science-fiction classics, or what? Already, robots are carrying machine guns, learning how to hunt down and destroy prey, and escaping from their human creators. What’s next? Some kind of high-speed worldwide information-sharing network over which robots could communicate? That would just be outlandish and irresponsible of us.
Now, humanity might face its most daunting robotic challenge yet: robots that sweat. Imagine: hordes of red-eyed, remorseless machines, walking around and getting carpets and sofas wet wherever they went. It’d be awful. Just awful. That has to be exactly what went through the minds of the sadistic creators of Kengoro, the newest in a long line of creepy, cyborg line-blurring technology news from Japan.
According to Kengoro’s creators from the University of Tokyo, the robot can sweat just like a human does whenever it performs physical activity, thus solving some of the difficulties with creating robots that do not overheat. Kengoro was presented at the 2016 International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) in Korea.
According to the moist robot’s sweat-obsessed inventors, Kengoro’s unique cooling system was added out of necessity once the android’s body began overheating after it was already cramped with components. Lead roboticist Toyotaka Kozuki believes that using the robot’s frame as a cooling system is an efficient way for researchers to solve a key problem of robotic design by using an already-existing component:
Usually the frame of a robot is only used to support forces. Our concept was adding more functions to the frame, using it to transfer water, release heat, and at the same time support forces.
Kengoro can run for a whole day on only two cups of deionized water. Like humans, however, Kengoro needs to be replenished after a day’s worth of activity. Still, this novel cooling system might enable researchers to overcome some of the current obstacles in creating self-powered robots that can function long-term outside of a lab. If Kengoro proves successful, robots refilling themselves at water fountains might soon be a regular sight. Along with, you know, the uprising of our new sweaty robotic oppressors. Don't say I didn't warn you.