Kengoro: 3D Printed Robot Works Up a Sweat at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots & Systems
We’ve certainly spent a lot of time considering what might happen when robots truly can think like us, but very likely not a lot (on the part of the layman, anyway) has been put into considering how they might also be able to move and even show off their stamina like we do one day. And while we so often borrow from nature to find inspiration and the key to innovation—from butterfly wings to salamanders in 3D design of all sorts—now we see that also instilled in a recent project emerging from Japan as robots not only beat us in phys ed now, they’ve got the perspiration to prove it.Robots that sweat make perfect sense, actually. 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 future 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.
“Usually the frame of a robot is only used to support forces,” lead author Toyotaka Kozuki said in a recent interview. “Our concept was adding more functions to the frame, using it to transfer water, release heat, and at the same time support forces.”
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.This is all outlined at the conference in “Skeletal Structure with Artificial Perspiration for Cooling by Latent Heat for Musculoskeletal Humanoid Kengoro,” authored by Toyotaka Kozuki, Hirose Toshinori, Takuma Shirai, Shinsuke Nakashima, Yuki Asano, Yohei Kakiuchi, Kei Okada, and Masayuki Inaba. IROS was held in Daejeon, South Korea October 9-14. Discuss in the Kengoro forum at 3DPB.com. [Source: IEEE Spectrum]
You May Also Like
Make All the Things Part 3: Vertical Garden Part 3 – Design Thinking
3D Printing & Digital Fabrication to Play a Significant Role in World Sustainability
While sustainability for the future is a fascinating subject, it is also a critical one as we must do our best to help those currently in need in developing countries,...
The Promise of 3D Printing Sustainable Society & Development
Italian researchers from the University of Chieti-Pescara are exploring the ongoing pervasiveness of 3D printing and additive manufacturing and what that really means for the future in ‘Investigation of the...
Brazil: Researchers Test the Potential of Recycling PLA for Greater Sustainability in 3D Printing
Brazilian researchers are interested in furthering not only the benefits of 3D printing but also the advantages of PLA’s biodegradability for ease in recycling. Their findings are further outlined in...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.