Folks, I gotta tell you – I’m feeling a bit emotionally perplexed.
On one hand this extremely human-like robot, developed by Boston Dynamics, is jaw-dropping in its technological achievement. On the other hand it’s utterly frightening, as it’s the closest thing I’ve ever seen to T-800.
It’s actually called PETMAN, which is short for Protection Ensemble Test Mannequin. It is being developed for the U.S. Army, who plans to use the robot to test protective gear used by troops – like chemical suits and whatnot.
Of course, in order to properly test the Army gear, the robot needs to act like a soldier. And act like a soldier it does. It walks, runs, crawls, bends, and just generally moves like a human. As you’ll see in the video, the thing even does pushups. Not only does it move like a solider, but in order to truly test the effectiveness of the gear, the robot sweats like a solider. PETMAN can simulate respiration and changes in skin temperature in order to mimic real life circumstances.
Check it out:
According to ieee spectrum, the PETMAN got its start as a 26 million dollar Army program. It can run at about 4.4 miles per hour and according to its developers, might eventually receive a head.
“There are all sorts of things robots like PETMAN could be used for,” said Boston Dynamics VP of engineering Robert Playter. “Any place that has been designed for human access, mobility, or manipulation skills. Places like the Fukushima reactors could be accessed by PETMAN-like robots (or AlphaDogs), without requiring any human exposure to hazardous materials. Perhaps firefighting inside of buildings or facilities designed for human access, like on board ships designed for human crews.”
Or, you know, enslavement of the human race or whatever.
Boston Dynamics is already known for their advancements in the field of robotics. They’re the guys behind BigDog, the robot designed to traverse rough terrain that can carry up to 320 lbs. You can see BigDog in action below. It’s amazing how something with four legs can look so spider-like.