Swiss scientists have developed a new robot that simulates human sweating as part of an effort to develop better athletic clothing for use in freezing temperatures, but sadly they declined to name it Keith.
The robot is actually called Sam, short for "Sweating Agile Mannequin," which is probably about as creative as you're going to get from a group of scientists performing an intensive study of perspiration in order to build a better tracksuit. The sweat-bot actually has 125 nozzles on its head and body, and moves in a running motion to simulate human activity and help researchers develop materials that will boost athletes' performance in freezing conditions.
"Sam simulates heat and moisture transfer of the human body," said Professor Rene Rossi of the University of Zurich. "We heat up the surface of the mannequin to a skin temperature of 34C."
The researchers are developing new "high-tech fibers" that are designed to adjust the amount of air and moisture that can permeate clothing as body temperature rises and falls. The object is to create synthetic materials that don't absorb humidity but instead store it between the fibers so it can evaporate much more quickly, resulting in clothing that dries rapidly and helps maintain a constant temperature.
"The idea of creating functional clothing for winter sports is to make sure people do not cool down too much," Rossi said. "So after the activity the clothing has to dry very fast."
Sam the Sweat-bot may have practical applications but he's also creepy as hell. In action, which you can see in an attached video, Sam looks eerily similar to a Combine Stalker. That might be alright for the Swiss ski team but from where I'm sitting, it's just freaky.