July 27, 2012 at 2:55 PM ET
Japanese researchers are building a human-like robotic swimmer that could help athletes swim faster, or at least wear speedier swimsuits.
Among other things, the Swumanoid will give researchers insight into the propulsive force created by a swimmer’s hands, which is difficult to gauge with sensors on an actual human, Motomu Nakashima from the Tokyo Institute of Technology told the video news website Diginfo TV.
The robot is modeled after a competitive swimmer, built to half scale. Waterproof motors reproduce swimming motions. It currently swims about three times slower than the current 100-meter freestyle record-holder, Brazilian Cesar Cielo.
Nakashima said the robot will find use in sports research. It might also serve as a rescue robot. Given other developments on the robot lifeguard front, it’s beginning to look like a favorite summer job is about to be automated.
--Via Diginfo TV