Researchers from the University of Tokyo's JSK Lab say they have developed a more efficient way to cool humanoid robots. The team, led by professor Masayuki Inaba, has designed a humanoid named Kengoro to sweat water straight out of its skeletal structure, and the trick was to exploit how the robot's frame is constructed.
Kengoro is laser sintered from aluminum powder, which is an additive manufacturing technique that can print complex structures out of metal. Inaba says the laser-sintering technique is precise enough to build up aluminum structures with areas of both low and high permeability, enabling the researchers to make seamless metal components that have microchannels embedded in them through which water can flow. However, instead of only leaking water all over the floor, laser sintering permits the water to seep from an inner porous layer into a more porous region near the surface of the frame, from where it can evaporate out into the air.
In tests, Inaba notes the method was three times better than air cooling, significantly better than just circulating water through the interior channel, but not as effective as a traditional radiator using active cooling.
From IEEE Spectrum
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