Meet ANDI, the world’s sweatiest grandchild. Although he appears to be standing on the shop floor from a distance, a closer look reveals bundles of cables and pipework hidden beneath his shell. They are connected to sensors, plumbed into a liquid supply, and lined with up to 150 individual holes that open when heated.

It sounds messy, but it’s all by design — the ANDI is a highly sophisticated, walkable, and yes, sweaty mannequin, part of a range of body analog dummies produced by the Seattle firm. Thermometrics. It recently made headlines – at least – in male circles – because researchers at Arizona State University (ASU) are using an ANDI model to study how the human body reacts. does. Intense heat.

An ANDI thermal mannequin being assembled.Photo: Marvin Mengstab

The year was 2023. Hottest since records beganAnd as the world continues to warm, clothing designers, car manufacturers, and the military are among the groups fighting to make the technology fit for purpose, whether it’s more breathable textiles or Novel cooling solution. “People are everywhere, and billions of dollars are invested in trying to figure out how to keep people safe, comfortable, and fashionable—and all of those things have to do with the human thermal environment,” Rick Burke. , says President and Engineering Manager. of Thermetrix, who has been with the company for 33 of his 35 years.

The easiest way to test this gear would be to put a human in it and ask them how they feel, but it does have its drawbacks. “Human test subjects are very expensive and very subjective. (And they don’t like it when you set them on fire.”)

So, starting in the 1940s, the U.S. military began making the first thermal mannequins—humanoid heaters—to test clothing for soldiers. Say the military is sending soldiers to a cold location and they need to know how many layers to send with each soldier. “If the garment can be optimized for a specific deployment environment, the lower cost and safer Soldiers clearly justify the testing investment,” says Burke.

The technology evolved in the 1980s and 1990s as sports equipment manufacturers began using it to put new products to their own pace, while the addition of more individual heating zones to mannequins added more realism. Recent advances include internal cooling and altered sweat function of ANDI, which can be combined with computer simulations of human physiology to simulate the body’s effort to heat and cool itself. “Our mannequins are just a shell. They have no flesh,” Burke says. “But we have a virtual simulation of meat.”