Scientists concerned about the changes in Earth’s climate are using a robot to study the impact of soaring heat on humans. Called ANDI – short for Advanced Newton Dynamic Instrument – resembles a simple crash-test dummy. But it has the ability to breathe, shiver and even sweat. ANDI has been developed by researchers at Arizona State University in the US. And it is being used in Phoenix to understand what happens to the body when a human gets heatstroke and how can we protect ourselves in a warming planet.
The university published a release about the unique robot in May this year. It can mimic the thermal functions of the human body and has 35 different surface areas that are all individually controlled with temperature sensors, heat flux sensors and pores that bead sweat.
“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 news agency AFP.
The robot is “a very realistic way to experimentally measure how a human person responds to extreme climate” without putting people themselves at risk, the researcher added.
Until now, only a dozen or so mannequins of this type existed, and none of them could venture outdoors. But this ANDI is only one of two used by research institutions and the first to have a unique internal cooling channel.
Arizona’s capital Phoenix is enduring its longest heat wave in history. On Friday, the temperature exceeded 110 43 degrees Celsius for the 22nd day in a row.
“You can’t put humans in dangerous extreme heat situations and test what would happen,” said Jenni Vanos, associate professor in the School of Sustainability. “But there are situations we know of in the Valley where people are dying of heat and we still don’t fully understand what happened. ANDI can help us figure that out.”
At ANDI’s home, a newly developed heat chamber, researchers can simulate heat-exposure scenarios from different places around the globe. Here, temperature can reach up to 60 degrees Celsius.
The robot has internal cooling channels that help ANDI in various scenarios – solar radiation from the sun, infrared radiation from the ground and convection from the surrounding air.
Researchers hope the robot will provide a better understanding of hyperthermia – that is, when a body overheats, a condition that is threatening a growing proportion of the world’s population as a result of global warming.
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