Water with electronic devices never sounds like an ideal pairing, but one robot uses the combination to its advantage.
One major challenge facing robotics today is how to keep the robot mobile without overheating it. The motors on any system generate heat, and multiple motors in encased spaces could lead to a robot overheating very quickly. Coolants can be run through piping like artificial veins. However, those systems are normally expensive and weigh down the robot more.
The University of Tokyo’s JSK Lab looked to nature’s own cooling system to solve the problem: sweat.
The “sweat” comes as de-ionized water which cools Kengoro’s 108 motors. Kengoro can operate for a half day on just a cup of water. (Imagine what it could do with the recommended 8 glasses a day?) The sweat allows Kengoro to do a number of feats, including push-ups for 11 minutes consecutively.
Kengoro lacks a “skin” which humans use to cool down our bodies. The sweat drips down the robot’s mechanical bones. Laser sintering produced Kengoro’s skeleton. The process is similar to 3-D printing but allows for varying densities to be accounted for in the building process. Less dense aluminum retains Kengoro’s sweat and funnels the droplets to the motors rather than sweating all over the floor.