Next time you use the public pool or go to the ocean to get a few good laps in, be sure to check out the lifeguard stand. It may be a person, but it may also be a robot!
Lifeguards are a hot commodity, especially during the summer time (pun slightly intended). But, there is a lot of training that goes into being one, and not everyone can handle screaming kids on a daily basis as well as “accidents” in the pool (and you know the type of “accidents” I am referring to here). Well, know a research team at the Tokyo University of Technology is creating a new robot that is able to do the back-stroke – and the freestyle stroke on a few occasions when it gets a tad bit buggy.
Motomu Nakashima is an associate professor leading the team and hopes that one of these days, these “Swumanoid” robots will be able to act as lifeguards, able to patrol shores and assist distressed swimmers.
Swumanoid was created by utilizing a 3D scanner mapping out the physique of a human swimmer. The measurements taken were then used in the creation of the robot. The robot is equipped with 20 computer-controlled (and waterproof…of course) motors that enable the robot to act out necessary motions associated with swimming.
With a pace of six meters per second, this robot is able to swim one third of the time recorded for the fastest human swimmer in the world.
Just making a note here that it may be wise, for the 2016 Olympics, to ensure the IOC checks all Japanese swimmers to ensure they are people…and not robots.
These robots would really work out well for the largest pool in the world, don’t you think? Or, rather than making them swim, because they have the technology to not fry in the water, make them the bartenders for an underwater bar.