The makers of the eerily lifelike robotic mule have a new creation: a machine that walks around like a real human being. Boston Dynamics is building the “Petman” prototype for the U.S. Army, to test out protective clothing.
“Petman will balance itself and move freely; walking, crawling and doing a variety of suit-stressing calisthenics during exposure to chemical warfare agents,” the company promises. “Petman will also simulate human physiology within the protective suit by controlling temperature, humidity and sweating when necessary, all to provide realistic test conditions. ”
Like Boston Dynamics’ BigDog robo-mule, Petman stays upright, even when it’s shoved. And the thing walks heel-to-toe at 3.2 miles per hour, just like a flesh-and-blood person. Petman may be just one of a number of attempts by robot-makers to build a simulated set of biped legs. But I haven’t seen one that gets closer to the real deal.