Well, it may not – wait, scratch that – it’s definitely not as cool as a real working mech that can be piloted or controlled with an iPhone, but this is still pretty neat. A team of scientists at the Tokyo University of Technology have created a swimming robot dubbed “Swumanoid.” Using a 3D scanner to map the physique of a human swimmer, the robot is to be used to further research the repetitive actions of swimming that can be difficult for humans to perfectly repeat over and over again.
Associate professor Motomu Nakashima, leader of the research team, says that their Swumanoid robot is already able to do the back-stroke and attempt freestyle swimming. Instead of try to attach motion-sensing pads to human swimmers, which always come off in the water, the scientists made the robot with 20 waterproof motors that can be controlled by computer. This way they are able to study the forces that are used to propel swimmers through water.
Nakashima’s team hopes that one day the Swumanoid technology could be used to create automated lifeguards that would help swimmers in trouble on Japan’s shores, but that is certainly a long ways off. The robot needs a new pair of legs to be created before study of breast-stroke can begin. But at a top speed of about one-third the world’s fastest human swimmer, it certainly won’t be beating any Olympic athletes anytime soon.[via Deccan Chronicle]