In "dammit, Japan" news comes a humanoid robot that can mimic the freestyle, backstroke and breast-stroke swimming styles of a human. Why? Presumably so when the terrestrial robots herd us all into the water, there will already be some aquatic ones there ready to drown us. Wonderful news, really.
In its primitive prototype form, Tokyo Institute of Technology's humanoid swimming robot can perform a freestyle crawl at 0.64 meters per second and can also do the backstroke and butterfly. In reality, the Swumanoid doesn't even swim on command all the time.
Aside from its researcher's ambitions of deploying it to rescue drowning victims one day, the robot's more practical use would be for analyzing how people swim to look for patterns that can help improve a swimmer's technique.
Okay, using the thing to improve a swimmer's technique? MAYBE. But "ambitions of deploying it to rescue drowning victims?" GET F***ING REAL. Why do you need a robot that looks and swims like a human to rescue drowning victims when you could use a MOTORIZED JETSKI WITH A HYDRAULIC LIFT? I'm not even convinced these researchers have their science-ing licenses. "No such thing." Well there should be!
Hit the jump for a video demo.
Thanks to Douglas, who agrees they should only build robots that swim like rocks.