Boston Dynamics has been releasing video after video of its Petman humanoid robot performing a variety of tests, but something has always been missing: clothes. No longer. The company has today released a new video that demonstrates the robot can not only wear clothes, but make you never look at a hazmat suit the same way again. As the company notes, the testing isn’t just for Petman — thanks to some DoD funding, it’s using the robot to test suits like this in hazardous conditions, with an array of sensors on the robot itself able to detect chemicals leaking through the suit. Sit down, and head on past the break to see the video for yourself.
Designed for testing chemical protection clothing the agile of movement Petman is essential to simulate how a soldier stresses protective clothing under realistic conditions. But what is fascinating about this project is the uncanny aspect to PETMAN. There’s a threatening quality to it, another reminder of how we’re inexorably headed towards the creation of a true humanoid robot.
Unlike previous suit testers that had a limited repertoire of motion and had to be supported mechanically, Petman balances itself and moves freely; walking, bending and doing a variety of suit-stressing calisthenics during exposure to chemical warfare agents. Petman also simulates human physiology within the protective suit by controlling temperature, humidity and sweating, all to provide realistic test conditions.
Boston Dynamics’s Petman has been under development for a while now, but this is our first opportunity to see him decked out in full battle gear.
The DoD funded Boston Dynamics says the humanoid robot is being used to test the performance of protective clothing designed for hazardous environments. Petman has sensors embedded in its skin to detect any chemicals that might leak through the suit. The skin can also maintain a micro-climate inside the suit by sweating and regulating temperature.
The Petman system was delivered to the user’s test facility where it is going through validation experiments. Boston Dynamics’ partners for the program are MRIGlobal, Measurement Technologies Northwest, Smith Carter CUH2A (SCC), and HHI Corporation.