Rich Fron-bot. Katrin Davidsdot-tron. Those are the names we may see at the top of the CrossFit Games 100 years from now. Maybe sooner.
As reported in this article by Evan Ackerman on the IEEE Spectrum website, researchers from the University of Tokyo invented a humanoid robot named “Kengoro” that can do outrageous amounts of pushups despite the near-constant high torque demands on their motors and the generated heat that eventually hinders performance. As you might imagine any robot to be, Kengoro is packed with metallic structural components, circuit boards, gears, and motors (108 total), leaving no room for a central radiator that feeds cooling tubes and fans. Researchers instead came up with the idea of using the robot’s metal skeletal structure as a coolant delivery system, developing a way to allow water to seep out through the frame around the motors to cool them through evaporation. Or as Ackerman says, Kengoro sweats. You can read about all the technical specs here.
How does this relate to the CrossFit community? We can probably expect to see robots begin to replace trainers and coaches down the road, and eventually, begin to compete against the fittest humans on earth. Can you imagine 2116 Matt Fraser vs. Kengoro v.2000 becoming the battle of man vs. machine that replaces John Henry’s legend?
It might be easy to dismiss such a thought today, but think about the benefits of Coach Kengoro. Customizable to your specifications. Never late to class. Knowledgeable about all movements and modifications. Consistent with standards. PERFECT FORM. Once robots have been incorporated amongst the coaching ranks, it’s only a matter of time before they start competing in workouts and eventually, the Games.
If the future of CrossFit with robots seems dim, we can still hold on to this thought: today’s Kengoro would get no-repped.