Pretty much from the days of iRobot and Terminator-like movies that bombed the box-office robot technology has been constantly rising. The science fiction imaginations and drawings from the storyboard of artists have taken shape into real robots of today. In the past 30 years, a lot has changed, especially in the field of robotics. Today, we are looking at organic robots, nanorobots, and biorobots that can do stuff like humans. These are fondly called androids and cyborgs in pop culture.
From a recent invention published in Science Magazine, it seems that we have got an inch closer. Researchers have worked together to create a technology in the field of soft-robotics that allows them to sweat, that is, literally.
The Novel Hand of the Robot
To make this kind of robot technology possible we have to look into material science. This is a field where new kinds of materials are developed. Thus, these are not like the metals and stainless steel we are used to in our everyday life. For example, in this particular case, researchers have worked together to build a soft hydrogen-based ‘Actuator’. In the field of robotics, fingers are called actuators. This was a proof of concept which seems to have succeeded in reaping the benefits.
- This hydrogen-based actuator allows soft body robots to sweat water.
- The exterior is made of microporous polyacrylamide dorsal layer.
- This dorsal skin contains temperature-sensitive pores that release water to cool the body.
Thus, in a brief way, we have described the three steps designed to mimic the sweating of a human body’s skin into an artificial robot’s fingers.
The Functioning of this Robot Technology
If we take a more detailed look at the underlying process we find the novel idea at work. What happens is that at a lower temperature our body feels cold and hence the sweat glands remain closed but, when we feel warm outside, the sweat glands release water to cool the body. In a very similar way, at low temperatures, the pores remain closed. But, when a finger or part of the finger becomes too hot, they open up, the pores dilate, and water stored in them drip out in the form of localized perspiration.
- Localized perspiration is the scientific term for sweating.
- When the rate of perspiration increases we sweat a lot and call the ‘Climate: Humid’.
- In contrast, when the rate of perspiration decreases, we call the ‘Climate: Dry’.
With the help of this new robot technology, the natural principles of evaporation and precipitation have been implemented to some degree. What is impressive is the efficiency of this cooling technology. According to the researchers, just like humans, this technology allows the robot to cool itself as well. The sweating or perspiration allows it to exhibit a 600% enhancement in the cooling rate compared to without any form of perspiration.
This, however, is just a glimpse at the innovation the field of robotics has achieved in recent decades.