The Merkle

Meet Kengoro, the Robotic Humanoid Capable of Sweating

Not a day goes by without some interesting development in the world of technology. Especially when it comes to robotics and their capabilities, there’s still room for improvement. Although most of these machines make humans look lazy, there is now a robot capable of doing crunches and push-ups while breaking a sweat. It sounds pretty unusual, but there is a certain appeal to this concept as well.

Sweating Robots Working out Like Humans

On paper, there is absolutely no reason for a robot to perform either crunches or push-ups. After all, a robot doesn’t have fat to burn, muscles to train or a mind capable of feeling the enjoyment of working out. All of this begs the question, why would engineers even explore the idea of creating a device capable of exercising? The most logical answer to this question would be “because they can”.

More specifically, researchers at the University of Tokyo have created a robotic humanoid which looks a lot more lifelike than some other contraptions we have seen this year. In fact, the connection between human and machine has never been as obvious. Not only does this device look like a human, it also successfully mimics the movement of its human counterparts. That is quite an intriguing development, considering humanoids often stomp around like mechanical bulls in a china shop.

Known as Kengoro, the robot is pretty interesting to behold for many different reasons. It plays badminton, makes you look bad while working out, and sweats more buckets than the average person in a sauna. The latter feature is rather mystifying, considering there’s no apparent reason for any robot to sweat. At the same time, it’s only natural they’d do so, as it would make their integration into our society go a lot smoother.

Replicating a human body is a very difficult task, even for the most advanced robotics experts. Kengoro, which is the latest iteration of the Kenshiro line of humanoids, is slightly heavier and a bit older than the first generation. Moreover, the ratio of foot length to shoulder height has been tweaked slightly. For all intents and purposes, you wouldn’t know it was a robot if it had human skin.

Kengoro’s movements are exceedingly fluid thanks to the use of actuators in its joints. With 116 of these actuators present in Kengoro, it can mimic the movements of human muscles surprisingly well. While there is no 1:1 exact copy of human musculature right now, the progress made by the team is pretty significant. It’s also the actuators which cause Kengoro to sweat, due to the heat these parts produce. It’s an interesting take on things that will certainly send shockwaves throughout the robotics industry.

Even though Kengoro is more human-like than any other robot, it still remains alien. For one thing, its higher number of degrees of freedom makes it move and bend in angles some people would never be able to achieve. While all of this is pretty significant, the big question is whether or not Kengoro will serve any real-life purpose in the future. It is still a noteworthy development in the robotics sector, though.