If Tokyo Tech’s swimming android robot—awkwardly dubbed the Swumanoid—is any indication, our Olympic athletes don’t have to worry about any cybernetic competition for at least a few more years. But for the time being, this robot is actually designed to help improve a human swimmer’s performance and gear.
Created using a 3D scanner to measure and digitise the body and motions of a competitive swimmer, the Swumanoid was built at half-scale to give researchers a way to measure the propulsive force of an athlete’s stroke. The complex motions of a human’s arm are replicated in the robot using 20 waterproof motors, but even though it seemingly has a mechanical advantage, in its current form the bot is actually about three times slower than the 100-metre freestyle world record time. But it’s already learned the butterfly and backstroke, and can probably do a mean cannonball. [DigInfo TV]