Written by IEEE | December 5, 2016 | Updated: March 30, 2017
As we begin incorporating artificially intelligent robots into jobs in manufacturing and for use in other tasks, a real concern is the generation of excess heat. Just like humans, as a robot performs a task, it gives off heat. The heat needs to leave the robot or be cooled down somehow. If this doesn’t happen, the robot or machine can overheat and fail.
Many robots are built with special cooling systems that require their own power sources. These power sources can overwork or hinder the work that a robot is designed to do. They also add extra bulk to the robot which can cause it to slow down or generate even more heat.
Researchers at University of Tokyo’s JSK Lab used their humanoid robot to begin testing other cooling options. Their robot, named Kengoro, has a metal skeleton and is powered by 108 motors. There is no room in the robot for a cooling system or fans, so the researchers created a passive water-based cooling system. Instead of having to install a radiator in the robot, they let the water seep out of the robot so it cools down the motors by evaporation. Kengoro sweats by the same system we use to cool down our bodies.
Water must be introduced into the robot so it is able to “sweat.” The researchers found that the robot can run for half a day on a cup of water depending on how much exertion must be used for the specific task. They tested their prototype by having him do push ups and “sweating.”