Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Japanese scientists create first swimming robot

Tokyo University of Technology has created a 'Swumanoid' robot using a 3D scanner to perfectly map a human swimmer's physique, which has perfected the back-stroke and tries freestyle swimming.

Apart from life-saving ambitions, the Swumanoid can be useful in helping research into swimming.

The team, led by associate professor Motomu Nakashima, hopes that eventually robots like the Swumanoid can act as robot lifeguards, patrolling our shores and helping swimmers in distress, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

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 over and over.

Swumanoids can do this well, helping researchers measure various elements like the force required to propel swimmers through the water.

The research team created Swumanoid by using a 3D scanner to perfectly map a human swimmer's physique. These measurements were used to create the robot, with 20 waterproof, computer-controlled motors providing the swimming motion.

The robot can currently swim the backstroke and the front crawl, but he will need a new pair of legs before he can tackle the breast-stroke.

However, with a pace of six metres per second, Swumanoid swims at just a third of the fastest human world record.

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