A team of Japanese roboticists has built a new “human mimetic humanoid” that anatomically resembles the musculoskeletal intricacy of a human boy. Called Kengoro, the robot demonstrated its human-like abilities by completing a series of exercises including push-ups and sit-ups.
The JSK lab at the University of Tokyo has been developing these humanoid robots for several years now. The Kengoro is the most advanced iteration of a series that began in 2001 with a bot named Kenta.
The goal of the research is to develop a robot that can act as a completely accurate human analogue, allowing for a variety of applications from better crash test dummies to improved muscle analytics for athletes and sports training. Not to mention the science fiction potential in producing perfectly identical humanoid robots.
The most advanced robot produced to date by the team, Kengoro is more structurally complex than any of its earlier relatives, but perhaps the most interesting development is its artificial perspiration system. Ostensibly the system mimics the way a human being sweats, but the process also serves a pragmatic function, designed to prevent overheating by running water through its skeletal frame and allowing steam to vent out of small vents.
Kengoro was immediately put to work demonstrating a series of human-like movements that resembled a tough exercise workout, and while the robot doesn’t have the supernatural dynamism of other androids (such as the latest backflipping bot from Boston Dynamics), it does have a human-like quality that is undeniably unsettling.