Ford’s robot butt for testing car seats can now sweat

The next time someone tells you that the tech industry is out of ideas or that the future we were all promised never arrived or that real innovation died out years ago, you grab that stinker by their collar, and you yell in their face: “Ford added sweat glands to its robot butt.”

There’ll be stunned silence, I guarantee.

Back in 2017, we introduced you to the Robutt, the robotic butt that Ford uses to test its car seats. It’s basically a cushion stuck on the end of an industrial robot arm that performs CPR on car seats for days at a time to quickly re-create 10 years of wear and tear. Well, in 2019 (as seen via Motherboard), the Robutt is back, and it’s moister than ever.

To better mimic real-life usage, like getting into your car after a workout at the gym, the Robutt can now sweat. Its cushioning is heated to 36 degrees Celsius (to approximate the human body’s temperature), and half a liter of water is fed through the fabric.

“The sweat test ensures the seat stays free of surface damage over time,” claims Ford in a blog. But who can really say? I feel like the sweating robot butt is just as likely to be the work of some imaginative pervert at the Ford factory (or a canny comms department that knows what idiots like me like to blog about) as any conscientious engineer.

But hey, I’m just glad there are some jobs humans don’t have to do.


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