The robot definitely mimics human form, but it still appears choppy in its movements--no where near as fluid as a human swimmer and not even remotely comparable to a competitive one. That said, I get the idea of applying the robot to aid in physical therapy exploration, but don't necessarily see how it would aid in helping competitive swimmers.
All of that said, between this and your earlier post this week on marine-inspired robots, there's definitely quite a lot of innovation and progress going on in this field. Thanks for sharing.
Great story Ann!! That is so interesting and love the video. If this robot has the ability to pick up things this would be great for underwater rescues. It would be nice to see some of the other robot teams work together to combine their specialty features into one robot.
Do you know what's the teams next step for this robot?
I agree, the robot is not yet perfectly human in all its movements. But it's awfully close, and compared to previous efforts, this one's elegant and fluid. The main achievement isn't just the robot that demonstrates the SWUM model, but that model itself, to emulate all of the human motor movements accurately, get the "map" done, so they can then be refined even more. But first you've got to have the entire, accurate map. Once you have that accurate map, you can also use it plus the analysis to map human swimmers' individual movements and analyze them, presumably leading to greater efficiency.
Thanks, gsmith120. That's an interesting idea, to combine these swimming abilities with some of the abilities of the robots shown in the nautical robot slideshow. The team stated that its next steps are to develop faster robots to better emulate competitive swimmer's movements and also to come up with swimwear optimized for high-speed swimming.
Rescue robots are currently being developed mostly for use on land. Based on some other nautical robot designs, I'd guess that rescue robots developed for use in the water would not replicate the details of human anatomy or swimming movements, as the swumanoid does, since human swimming movements aren't the most efficient way to move through water. The swumanoid has been optimized for those last two functions, but rescue robots are optimized for speed and strength, such as lifting or pulling heavy objects. For example, the Hawkes Remotes T-Series is small, compact and provides enough torque to lift 220 lbs: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&itc=dn_analysis_element&doc_id=246206&image_number=11
Using the robot to enable competitive swimwear--that's likely to open up the can worms of too much reliance on technology and not enough on performance of the human body. Nevertheless, as Ann points out, the fact that they put all this energy into developing the full swimmer's body model is exciting and an effort that could have applicability in numerous places.
Beth. I agreee with you. When I first saw the video, the first thing that I noticed was that the movement was choppy. Why they didn't put sensors on a swimmer to provide a model is beyond me.
The other thing that I noticed was that the arm movement was wrong. You have to do two things at the same time which the robot seems to not be able to do. You pull down one arm at the same time you move the second arm up. It appears that they move the one arm up AND THEN move the other arm down and back.
I would bet that if they put it in water that it would sink which is why the video doesn't show the robot actually swimming.
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