Boston Dynamics gets five demerits for posting this new video of PETMANafter our Video Friday post last week. I mean, seriously, don't they keep track of our schedule over there? It's a must-watch video, and even if you've already seen it, here's a reason to re-watch it: it's now got a killer '70s soundtrack.
Here's what you have to do: click play on the first video, and then click play on the second video right afterwards so that they're both playing at the same time. It's worth it. (If you're using an iPad, it won't play two videos at the same time—at least mine doesn't—so play the song in your head!)
Go on, try and not listen to the rest of the Bee Gees music video. And let's come up with a way to get Boston Dynamics to post a video of PETMAN walking around in a pair of those pants. Indeed, I bet they've dressed PETMAN up in all sorts of crazy things behind closed doors. I'm sure they've even tried to get it to moonwalk, and I'd pay good money to see a video of that.
PETMAN may have recently been eclipsed by ATLAS, but the two robots are designed for two different purposes: ATLAS is more of a human-replacement type robot, whereas PETMAN is specifically intended to test out military gear like chemical protective suits and masks:
PETMAN is an anthropomorphic robot designed for testing chemical protection clothing. Natural agile movement is essential for PETMAN to simulate how a soldier stresses protective clothing under realistic conditions.
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.
It still seems to us like that's an awful lot of trouble and expense to go through to just test wearable military stuff, but hey, if it means that Boston Dynamics can keep developing these incredible full-size humanoids, we're all for it.
[ Boston Dynamics ]
Evan Ackerman is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and technology. He has a degree in Martian geology and is excellent at playing bagpipes.