Motomu Nakashima of Tokyo Institute of Technology and his research team members developed a humanoid robot that can swim by itself without receiving instructions from outside. Named SWUMANOID, the newly developed robot is 89 cm tall and weighs about seven kg. It has a total of 20 build-in waterproof resin motors. It can swim freestyle, butterfly, and backstroke.
It swam freestyle about 8.5 m at a speed of 0.23 m per second in a swimming pool without stream. That is, it can swim 25 m in about 108 seconds. If the robot is built as tall as and as big as a human, it can shorten the time to half mathematically. It is expected to help the analysis for faster swim and the development of swimwear, not to mention that it can be applied for lifesaving. Prof. Nakashima plans to put it into practical application and sell it for one to two million yen in two years in alliance with private companies.
A swimming robot developed by a research team
of Tokyo Institute of Technology