Boston Dynamics have brought us yet another amazing robot. The robot, PETMAN, is a humanoid, capable of walking and articulating just as humans do.
Boston Dynamics is at the vanguard of the field robotics, so it’s a fairly regular occurrence that they blow our minds a bit. Their most famous robot, the Big Dog, is a quadruped able to navigate difficult terrain and carry supplies; perfect for many military and civilian applications where heavy gear needs to be transported. Now, they’ve left the realm of man’s best friend to make an attempt at creating man himself.
PETMAN, as they’ve called it, is a humanoid robot capable of moving, articulating and walking like a real human being, without any kind of support to keep it balanced and upright. Though previous BD robots have been capable of limited motion, this is perhaps the first time a fully sized humanoid robot has ever been created, and the way it moves is perhaps even more true to life than anything Honda’s Azimo can pull off.
Despite its very impressive capabilities, the robot was designed not to walk among us, but only to test the durability of clothing. In other words, we’re not going to be living in an Isaac Asimov book any time soon. The robot will be testing the durability of chemical protection clothing to ensure it stands up to the wear of continued use, by walking around in it and subjecting it to a wide range of motions that will stress the fabric. In order to be as realistic as possible, the robot even has ways of controlling its temperature, and has the ability to sweat, thus exposing the chemical suits to moisture from the inside.