PHOENIX: What happens to the body when a human gets heatstroke? How can we protect ourselves in a warming planet? To answer these burning questions, Arizona researchers have deployed a robot that can breathe, shiver and sweat.
The southwestern state’s capital Phoenix is currently enduring its longest heat wave in history: On Friday (Jul 21), the mercury exceeded 43 degrees Celsius for the 22nd day in a row, an ominous demonstration of what’s to come in a world impacted by climate change.
For humans, such heat represents a potentially lethal threat, one that is still not fully understood. But for ANDI – a one-of-a-kind humanoid robot at Arizona State University – it’s a lovely day out.
“He’s the world’s first outdoor thermal mannequin that we can routinely take outside and … measure how much heat he is receiving from the environment,” mechanical engineering professor Konrad Rykaczewski told AFP.
ANDI is “a very realistic way to experimentally measure how a human person responds to extreme climate” without putting people themselves at risk, Rykaczewski says.
At first glance, ANDI – which stands for Advanced Newton Dynamic Instrument – resembles a simple crash-test dummy.
But its epoxy/carbon fiber skin conceals a treasure trove of technology, such as a network of connected sensors that assess heat diffused through the body.
ANDI also has an internal cooling system and pores allowing it to breathe and sweat. There are 35 independent thermal zones and, like humans, the robot – which cost more than half a million dollars to build – sweats more from its back.