Arizona State University (ASU) has introduced a groundbreaking technological innovation with the unveiling of ANDI, the world’s first robot capable of breathing, sweating, and walking. This remarkable development is set to revolutionize the study of how our bodies respond to extreme heat.

ANDI, custom-built for ASU by Thermatrics, a leading thermal measurement technology company, closely emulates the thermal functions of the human body. With 35 different surface areas equipped with temperature and heat flux sensors, as well as sweat pores, ANDI provides researchers with a comprehensive understanding of how heat impacts the human body.

The dire need to battle the terrible consequences of scorching heat sparked this ambitious project. Each year in the U.S., countless people pass away from heat-related diseases, with Maricopa County experiencing a 25% jump in fatal heat stress instances in 2022 compared to previously. Sadly, it looks like heatwaves will become more frequent and intense in the coming years, so we had to heavily investigate how high temperatures affect us.

Gathering experts from many fields, ASU’s Schools of Engineering of Matter, Transport, and Energy, Sustainability, and Arts, Media, and Engineering have teamed up to see how temperature extremes negatively impact human wellbeing– with the most sensitive populations like kids and athletes taking the biggest hit.

ANDI resides in a specially designed heat chamber capable of simulating extreme heat conditions, reaching temperatures of up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and including solar radiation. To ensure ANDI’s well-being, internal cooling channels circulate cool water throughout its body, effectively counteracting the simulated extreme heat.

The integration of ANDI with MaRTy, ASU’s biometeorological heat robot, allows researchers to gain a comprehensive understanding of how the built environment affects the human body’s response to heat stress. By combining data from both robots, the team hopes to improve the design of cooling clothes and backpacks with cooling support.

ASU’s research team acknowledges that addressing the challenges posed by extreme heat requires a holistic approach. While ANDI provides invaluable insights into the human body’s reaction to heat, the team recognizes that there is no universal solution. Nonetheless, they remain optimistic about the potential impact of their research and invite students to join them in this groundbreaking venture.

With ANDI, ASU is pioneering a new era of research in the field of heat stress, paving the way for improved understanding and innovative solutions to mitigate the devastating effects of extreme heat on human health.

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