Bipedal robot to test biohazard gear

Photo from Creative Commons.

Petman is a 6-foot-tall bipedal robot with features eerily similar to the T-800 Terminator chassis. This futuristic robot is developed for the military, though its purpose is not as sinister as its appearance would lead observers to conclude. The robot is to take part in improving the testing of bio-hazard suits.

Petman is developed by Boston Dynamics. This is the same company that developed two robotic camel prototypes for the Army to use in the desert. These camel-like robots are designed to adapt to sandy terrain preventing them from becoming bogged down where normal wheeled vehicles would be made useless. While these robots were recently completed, they have not made it into the field yet. What made the camel robots known as BigDog and AlphaDog so impressive besides their off-road capabilities was the range of motion these robots had.

Petman builds off its predecessors’ range of motion in a big way. Petman is being hailed for its extremely human-like movement. This movement has allowed Petman to do push-ups, run on a treadmill and do any number of human-like exercises. The robot even has the ability to stabilize itself when pushed off balance.

This is all vital for Petman’s mission to test out bio-hazard gear. The full range of motion will allow the robot to put the bio-hazard equipment through a strenuous workout and push the life saving suits to the extreme. This allows researchers in the military to create better, form fitting equipment that will allow soldiers in the field to maintain their full range of movement while still being protected from biological weapons.

Petman may not be a one-shot robot, but it has the potential to be used for a series of other jobs. The robot’s human-like frame would allow it to move into hazardous situations in buildings designed for humans with ease. Petman could be the future of firefighting or emergency response to nuclear reactors when there’s an issue that makes the situation too harmful for even the best-trained emergency responder. Enjoy the video below of Petman going through some robot calisthenics.