The latest news about robots, robotics
Posted: Jul 31, 2012
Swimming robots could make lifeguards history (w/video)
(Nanowerk News) Researchers have created a robot that can perfectly replicate back stroke swimming.
The team at the Tokyo University of Technology, led by associate professor Motomu Nakashima, hopes that eventually robots like the 'Swumanoid' can act as robot lifeguards, patrolling the shores and helping swimmers in distress.
The scientists are also hoping to use Swumanoid in their research into swimming.
It is difficult to secure motion-sensing pads to swimmers in the water, and it is also difficult for swimmers to perfectly repeat repetitive actions a number of times.
But Swumanoid can do this well, thereby helping researchers measure various elements like the force required to propel swimmers through the water.
The researchers created Swumanoid by using a 3D scanner so that it perfectly maps a human swimmer's physique.
These measurements were later used to create the robot, with 20 waterproof, computer-controlled motors providing the perfect swimming motion.
The robot can currently swim the backstroke and the front crawl, but it will need a new pair of legs before he can master the breast-stroke.
However, with a pace of six metres per second, Swumanoid swims at just a third of the fast human world record.