He's just like us!
Finally, it's the robot we've all been waiting for.
Meet ANDI, a heat-sensitive "thermal manikin" that can sweat profusely when it's hot outside to cool itself down, just like a real human. ANDI will even breathe heavily when under temperature-related duress.
Despite its offputting appearance, the robot does serve a very real purpose. Global temperatures are rising, and heat-trapping, concrete-laden urban metropolises aren't exactly helping the issue.
Researchers at Arizona State University are utilizing a specially-made version of the clammy android as a way to measure the effects extreme temperatures can have on the human body.
"You don't want to run a lot of these [tests] with a real person," Konrad Rykaczewski, an ASU mechanical engineering professor and the project's principal investigator, told local newspaper the Arizona Republic. "It's unethical and would be dangerous."
What's considered "peak heat" today, Rykaczewski added, "might be the average day in 20 years."
Climate Change C-3PO
As the report notes, while similar manikins have already been used inside controlled heat labs, the ASU-owned bot is the first with an "internal cooling system" that allows it to be used and tested outside.
ANDI won't just be used to measure how bad human life and health might get due to extreme temperatures. Researchers are hoping to find new ways of heat mitigation with the manikin's help, too.
"Maybe you should have spent that extra 15 minutes in the shade," Rykaczewski told the Arizona Republic. "Maybe we should spray water on you for 20 minutes. Maybe it's a certain clothing."
"The idea is to look at anything that would help us," he added, "if we have to be outside or want to enjoy being outside."
The researchers also hope that ANDI — which even has internal "organs" modeled after its human counterparts — will provide some added insight into recorded heat-related deaths.
"There are situations we know of in the Valley where people are dying of heat and we still don't fully understand what happened," said co-investigator Jennifer Vanos, an associate professor of sustainability, in a university statement. "ANDI can help us figure that out."
You can catch ANDI wandering around the ASU campus with its friend MaRTy, a portable weather station. Climate change's C-3PO and R2-D2, if you will.
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