First Swimming Robot
From barely moving cans on tracks with lots of small lamps we had decades ago, which seems to have fallen out of a science fiction movie from the 60′s, up to Honda’s humanoid robot ASIMO which can walk, run, play soccer, recognize voices and faces, exponential development of robotics in the last decades tickles the imagination and makes us wonder if we have already entered into the world of future as we sometimes see on TV. Scientists from Nakashima group from Tokyo Institute of Technology, went one step further by creating the so-called “Swumanoid”, the first swimming robot that replicates human swimming movements. This time, unlike its terrestrial counterparts, who are mostly designed to entertain people, help in the household or out of pure exhibitionism, the goal of the research is to obtain the information in laboratory under controlled conditions that will help to create a better swimming equipment. Measurements are performed on a robot because the experiments on humans showed unreliable. It is harder for humans to repeat the same movements many times, which is the only way to obtain relevant results. Also, there were problems with sensors on human swimmers.
High Speed Swumanoid
Swumanoid is created by 3D body scanning of professional swimmer and reduced to half of it’s size. It is powered by 20 waterproof engines resting in his joints that are specially designed for very large shoulder movements which land robots simply do not need, and people do them as they swim. In addition to crawl, it is programmed for dolphin and backstroke style of swimming, although while swimming the dolphin, it is still experiencing some technical problems with the leg design. It should be noted that although this is a prototype which is still far from the final product, it has already achieved speed of 0.64 meters per second, which is one third of the speed of the world champion at one hundred meters. It will get even faster, the laboratory announces.
Professional Swimming Equipment
In addition to help in developing professional swimming equipment, if they really make a robot that will autonomously and quickly swim, it could find it’s function in rescuing people from drowning, hopes Motomu Nakashima, the group leader. New hero form Japan, Swumanoid, soon arrives on your beaches!