The Science Behind Smelly Robot Armpits

If there were robots that looked exactly like humans roaming the earth, would you be able to tell the difference? There have been some really cool science fiction movies with these kind of robots, and as fast as robot technology is developing, it’s not inconceivable that someday we might all have our own personal robot to help us with our daily chores.

There are some things that would give away a robot though. For example, a robot can’t get angry or suddenly feel cold and need a sweater. A robot can’t blow out birthday candles because it doesn’t have any lungs (see the video below). A robot also can’t work up a sweat and get sweaty armpits, or can it?

In a project called The Smell Of Control: Fear, Focus, Trust, Kevin Grennan augmented three existing industrial robots with sweat glands, but that’s not all. You may be wondering why he didn’t just develop a perfume to spray on them, but the science behind this goes much deeper. When a human being smells particular scents, we typically respond in a predictable way. He used certain scents for these robotic armpits so that they could further enhance the robot’s purpose, which is to subconsciously make us behave in a desired way.

For example, on a bomb disposal robot, the armpit might release a smell that would make the human beings in the area scared (the smell of fear), causing them to be more aware and move to safety. It’s definitely a way for robots to communicate with the humans around them in a more effective way. You can learn more about this by reading an interview with Kevin on We Make Money Not Art. My only question is, did he have to make this prototype armpit look so creepy? Eeewww….

Human Armpit Is Nasty

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Science Behind Robot Armpits


Via: [Boing Boing]