If you've been impressed with Honda's ASIMO robot, get ready for something far more awesome.
Meet the first prototype of PETMAN, the new bipedal robot being developed by Boston Dynamics. PETMAN, as we discussed previously, is designed to test chemical warfare suits by imitating the same range and speed of motion as a human being -- walking, running, climbing, crawling, and so forth.
What you're seeing here is the first released video of PETMAN's proof-of-concept prototype. Using much of the same hardware as the famous BigDog robot, they've developed a self-balancing (but currently externally powered) prototype that walks on a large treadmill. The prototype has a top speed of 3.2mph -- well over Asimo's top walking speed, and nearly its running speed. It also appears that the walking speed adapts automatically to the speed of the treadmill.
You'll also note that those stylin' climbing shoes highlight a heel-toe walking pattern, a big dynamic change from the sort of "hoof" that BigDog has.
I can't wait to see how the actual robot performs. This prototype is already impressive.