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Researchers develop robot that sweats, breathes and shivers

Researchers at Arizona State University (ASU) have developed an indoor-outdoor robot that can breathe, shiver and sweat. Named ANDI (Advanced Newton Dynamic Instrument), this robot is the world’s first outdoor thermal mannequin that can measure how much heat it is receiving from the environment. 

It is ‘a very realistic way to experimentally measure how a human being would respond to extreme climate’ without putting human beings themselves at risk, says mechanical engineer professor Konrad Rykaczewski. At first glance, ANDI resembles a simple crash test dummy. However, its carbon fibre skin conceals an immense amount of technology such as a network of connected sensors that assess heat diffused through the body.

The robot also has an internal cooling system and pores that allow it to breathe and sweat. The cooling channels ensure that cool water circulates through the robot’s body to keep it cool against the extreme heat condition simulated. There are 35 independent thermal zones and just as a human would, the robot sweats more from its back. ASU developed a heat chamber capable of simulating heat-exposure events from around the globe. These temperatures can go up to 60 degrees Celsius and solar radiation.

Hitherto this innovation, only few thermal mannequins of this type existed and none of them were able to venture outdoors. They were mostly used by sport equipment manufacturers to test their technical clothing in thermal chambers.

“He’s the world’s first outdoor thermal mannequin that we can routinely take outside and…measure how much heat he is receiving from the environment,” Rykaczewski told AFP

This innovation has the potential to provide researchers with a better understanding of hyperthermia; a condition where the body overheats.

With global warming threatening a growing proportion of the world’s population, the innovation could prove useful for researchers. 

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