- Robot ‘first’ to walk like a human
- Can withstand hard shove without losing balance
- Built so it ‘sweats’ under pressure
It swings its arms and moves its legs just like the soldiers it is meant to mimic.
The PetMan robot created by Boston Dynamics is designed for military use – but don’t expect to see its human-like gait treading across a war zone any time soon.
For now the robot has been designed to act as a walking mannequin to ensure soldiers’ chemical warfare suits don’t rip.
His energetic ‘power walk’ and fitness routines are designed to test new uniforms so they don’t tear when in the presence of chemical warfare agents.
The company claims Petman is the first human-shaped, human-sized robot that walks like a man. It can hit speeds of 4.4 miles per hour.
PetMan can also do jumping jacks, squat thrusts and press-ups, all without losing his balance.
Previous mechanical systems for this testing just stressed the fabric in an unrealistic fashion, rather than moving like a human being does.
He also has a good enough sense of balance that the robot can be shoved hard while running on a treadmill, and won’t topple over.
‘Places like the Fukushima reactors could be accessed by PETMAN-like robots, 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,’ said Robert Playter, an engineer at Boston Dynamics.
The robot is part-funded by DARPA – the US military’s ‘mad scientist’ division.
‘Petman will also simulate human physiology within the protective suit by controlling temperature, humidity and sweating when necessary, all to provide realistic test conditions,’ says the robot company.