Watch: Human-Like Robot Sweats, Exercises, and Plays Badminton

Robots are become increasingly more human-like, as innovations have allowed them to engage in a number of impressive actions, like walking, talking and dancing. But perhaps the most eye-catching is a robot that can exercise and even break a sweat.

Meet Kengoro—the 5-foot-5-inch tall, 125-pound robot created by Japanese researchers.

12_21_Robot The SAR-401 advanced anthropomorphic robot operates at the Gagarin Research & Test Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, outside Moscow, on November 27, 2013. Robots are become increasingly more human-like as innovations have allowed them to engage in a number of impressive actions, like walking, talking, dancing—and now, even breaking a sweat. Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

Most robots are designed to be task-oriented. But Kengoro, and its predecessor Kenshiro, which broke ground with its 160 muscles, were created with the hope of better understanding how human functions, such as muscle control, operate. 

“Our intent is to design a humanoid based on human systems—including the musculoskeletal structure, sensory nervous system, and methods of information processing in the brain—to support science-oriented goals, such as gaining a deeper understanding of the internal mechanisms of humans,” the research team who created the two robots, wrote in their paper, published Wednesday in the journal Science Robotics.

A video shows that Kengoro, the newer of the two bots, can do sit-ups, chin-ups, back extensions, calf raises and hit a badminton birdie, among other actions. Like humans, the bot can get tired, causing its motors to overheat. Typically, researchers will use fans and other mechanisms to cool off robots. But not Kengoro, which is made of a special material that allows it to perspire artificially to cool down.

“A sponge-like metal material, created using a 3-D printer, is used in part of the skeletal structure,” study author Yuki Asano told The Japan Times. “We have designed a cooling system that makes water seep through the material and evaporate.”

After all, doing push-ups for 11 continuous minutes (as Kengoro can reportedly do, according to the video below) is sure to make anyone get overheated, even a metal machine.

Creating robots like Kengoro and Kenshiro may help advance medicine in a number of ways. The invention may allow scientists to grow tissue grafts used for transplantation, the study authors point out in their paper, referring to a separate study published in Science Robotics. Additionally, it may help with physical training.

“If a humanoid can replicate human movements, then the resulting muscle contribution analysis or sensory data obtained during motion will benefit athletes or sports trainers,” the study authors write. “In addition, human-shaped robotic limbs are also expected to be used in other fields, such as for artificial limbs or tele-operated human agents.”