While the Swumanoid robot may not be as easy on the eyes as a human lifeguard, it may just save your life one day. The swimming robot can apparently do an impressive front crawl as well as backstroke and may one day be deployed to rescue swimmers in situations where it would be too risky to send a human.
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.
Whereas a real person repeating the same repetitive stroke over and over hundreds of times would get fatigued, a robot wouldn’t. Data collected from the Swumanoid would easily help crank out more Michael “19 Olympic Medals” Phelps.
Ultimately, the Swumanoid should be able to do a breaststroke once it gets more advanced legs to do a froggy kick.